The Beginning 

The Northern Alaska Hockey Association (NAHA) Alaska Grizzlies (AKG) were formed in 1991 and first skated under the name Fairbanks Ice Hawks. The founders believed that there was a need for an organization dedicated entirely to the development of a competition team program for our youth in the Fairbanks North Star Borough and surrounding areas. The goals then, as they still are now, are to increase the number of competition teams in our area, seek additional ways to financially support our teams, and to provide the finest coaches and training environments available to carry out our mission and vision.

In March 1995, with the introduction of a Fairbanks Choice Lions Club petition, the NAHA family looked towards growth by adding an additional organization to better serve the Fairbanks hockey families. The petition was approved, and in April of 1995, NAHA was proud to add the Fairbanks  Arctic Lions to our family. On the organizational side, NAHA's sponsorship came primarily from the Fairbanks Choice Lions Club, and in March of 1995, with the Fairbanks Choice Lions sponsoring the effort, NAHA petitioned Lions Club International for membership as a Lions Club. The petition was approved, and in April of 1995 NAHA was reorganized as a member of Lions Club International. The Hockey Teams adopted new colors and a new name: Arctic Lions. Efforts were initiated to change the official name from NAHA to the Arctic Lions Club. The final approval was received from Lions Club International in February 1996. 

By 1996, a fourth team was added to the NAHA/AL family and the full roster included a 12U AA team coached by Rob Proffitt, a 12U AAA team coached by Cullen Wallace, two 14U AA teams coached by Mark Weber and Bernie Hughes, and a 16U AA team coached by Mark Sanford. The following season in 1997, the Arctic Lions added a Junior team, coached by Rob Proffitt, and assisted by Bob Schwark - a program that still exists in Fairbanks today called the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. Although no longer under the NAHA umbrella of organizations due to its steady growth, popularity and success that exceeded the commitment the NAHA board could support, we still celebrate the foundation that the NAHA board built for the program's future successes.

Major growth for the two organizations again happened in the fall of 2003 with the introduction of the Alaska Grizzlies flagship programs, the Ice Puppies 6U and the Jr Grizzlies 8U Development teams. USA Hockey’s world renowned Long Term Athletic Development Model is baked into each program’s curriculum plus added NAHA enhancements that we feel offer student-athletes the opportunity to thrive both on the ice and off through the game of hockey. The 6U & 8U programs have seen a steady climb in participation numbers even as the overall participation numbers for all youth sports have seen decreases over the last 17 seasons the programs have been successfully operated. In 2020, after almost two decades of growth at the 6/8U level, the Alaska Grizzlies again saw fundamental improvements in the development of youth athletes in this pivotal development age group and designed a development curriculum that shifted focus from age groups to like skilled groupings via the Alaska Grizzlies Academy.

The Arctic Lions do not measure success solely by the won-lost record of its teams. The development of the players as athletes, students, and future citizens entrusted to its charge is the true measure, and we are proud of our success on and off the ice. Success is built over periods of time, not overnight. But if the success of our teams on the ice is an indicator of our progress, we feel we are heading in the right direction.

The Organization

The AL/AKG family enhances the interior Alaskan youth hockey player's experience by offering: highly experienced, professional, committed, and recognized coaching staffs; a proven track record of developing players both on and off the ice; a focus towards player advancement through established recruitment pipelines; a strictly enforced high academic standard; a commitment to affordable costs. AL/AKG offers Tier I (AAA) (now hosted by the ASHA), Tier II (AA), and Tier III (A) level teams at the 10u, 12u, 14u, 16u, and 18u age groups while participating in the Pacific District for USA Hockey. The Arctic Lions has a steady and consistent history of advancing our teams to regional and national tournaments at all ages.


The Northern Alaska Hockey Association and Arctic Lions Hockey Association provide a positive atmosphere for all athletes to be given the platform to demonstrate physical fitness, hockey skill growth, and the development of life skills. We build character in our athletes through competition in the game of hockey and instill in them core values which are integral to life’s successes. We are dedicated to helping them realize their highest potential - Intellectually, Physically, and Socially – allowing them to be successful contributing members of the community in which they live.

By focusing on intellectual, physical, and social skills development through character building, we will develop a strong sense of community within our athletes that allows them to be successful on and off the ice. By instilling in our student-athletes the value of community and a strong work ethic, it will allow our athletes to be highly successful in the game of hockey, in education, in the community, in future jobs, and as leaders in their homes.

The Alaska Grizzlies and Arctic Lions aspire to be outstanding athletic organizations that provide a high-quality hockey experience to every athlete. In order to carry out our mission and vision for our organization and our athletes, the Alaska Grizzlies and Arctic Lions have four (4) core values that help facilitate growth in our student-athletes and provide the blueprint for a lifetime of success:

PERSISTENCE – All great athletes are passionate and competitive. They have a strong work ethic that allows them to complete the critical task of finding growth opportunities out of adversity. They mature and learn when they are faced with failure so they may be better equipped to handle adversity in the future.

EMPATHY – To be a great teammate, all athletes must be able to interpret the feelings, emotions, and concerns of teammates, coaches, parents, and team community members in ways that strengthen the relationship through trust, understanding, and well-being. Empathy is an indispensable trait in great teammates.

AUTHENTICITY – To be great, each athlete must have a divine inner strength that identifies who they are and what they stand for. Athletes who refuse to be something they are not, strengthen bonds with their teammates by bringing their own ideas to solutions through adversity.

KNOWLEDGE – Acquiring the knowledge to be the best takes time and passion. It is accrued by pouring over videos, a lifetime of reading books and articles, attending clinics, and picking the brains of mentors and coaches. The acquisition of expertise for an athlete is a lifetime pursuit and is never-ending.