Lakers coach takes job in Alaska with family concerns on his mind

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer
abradbury@fortfrances.com

Fort Frances Lakers head coach Dave Allison has departed the team to coach in Alaska for the rest of the season.

Allison has taken over as head coach of the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League. The Ice Dogs lost their coach, Trevor Stewart when he accepted a head coaching position at a Division One NCAA college hockey program according to a press release from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

Lakers President Gary Silander told the Times that there is an issue regarding the immigration status of members of Allison’s family in the United States which requires Allison to work in the US for some time.

According to Silander, Allison had to return to the US so that members of his family could maintain their status there, as their immigration status is tied to his because of Allison’s time working as a hockey coach in the US previously.

Allison’s children who live in the US have green cards which are tied to his own so returning to the US was a family decision more than anything, according to Silander.

“If he loses his green card they lose theirs too,” Silander said. “Then they all have to come back to Canada and his kids have got some pretty good jobs in the US right now.”

Silander said Allison wouldn’t have left the Lakers if he didn’t feel he had to for his family and he hopes Allison will be back with the Lakers again, perhaps as soon as next season if the paperwork is sorted out for his family to be able to stay in the United States.

“He was [dedicated here,]” Silander said. “It’s been in the works for a while but that’s why it took so long to come to fruition, because he didn’t want to upset anybody until after the trade deadline. So he looked after us.

In the meantime, Silander said, Assistant Coach Ron McKinnon will fill Allison’s shoes for the remainder of the season and Tyler Miller will fill McKinnon’s assistant coaching role.