Thursday, January 25, 2007

And This State Will Still Vote Republican in '08

I didn't mention this story when it first came out because to be honest, I wrote it off as a non-story. Alaska-Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak is a Canadian citizen who had a temporary permit to work in the United States. His temporary permit recently expired, and in order to get a permanent working permit, UAA has to prove that there is not a qualified and willing American that could take that job. UAA had to post the job for 30 days. It seemed to be more of an annoying bit of paperwork than anything serious since Shyiak won the people of Anchorage over with his team's performance this season.

But that 30-day public posting recently ended, and it seems that this situation could become more complicated. Five candidates, along with Shyiak himself, applied for the position. The Anchorage Daily News identified two candiates, Troy Ward and Frank Betti. UAA didn't release the other names, but will have to respond to a request from the ADN within 10 days. The UAA Fan Blog isn't happy that other people have applied for the job.

It's a shame that a ton of bureaucracy can outweigh an ounce of common sense like this. Anchorage immigration attorney Rebecca L. Maxey summed it up best in the ADN article with one of the best similes I've heard in a while:
"Navigating modern U.S. immigration law is kind of like working your way through a maze with a Kafka novel as a map"

It's always nice to see our legal system compared to inter-war Germany. But on the bright-side, I don't exactly remember, but didn't The Trial have a pretty happy ending for K.?

The problem, as I see it, is that the law says that they have to give the job to a "qualified" US citizen as opposed to giving it to the "most qualified" person. If it's an issue of who is the most qualified, I think it's no question that Shyiak is the right person. Shyiak was so obviously the top candidate for the job two years ago that even a naive blogger could see that he was the right guy for the job. Prior to his last two year's at UAA, he had been an assistant at a top college program, had a number of great connections in western Canada, and had finished runner-up for a number of jobs, including the UAA a few years prior. I don't think the two known candiates can match that.

But the question is whether Troy Ward, Frank Betti, or any of the other three mystery candidates is qualified to coach a college hockey team. It could be a tough sell for Anchorage to prove that they aren't. It may just come down to what some immigration officer's definition of "qualified" is.

Even if one of the US-born applicants is deemed "qualified," the circumstances of the situation would make him unqualified to effectively coach the team. I can't imagine trying to go out and recruit with the label of being "the guy whose own school thought was unqualified for the job." Nor would he be the most popular guy with the local fans after having usurped the power from a popular coach. Nor would he likely be able to command the respect of his players.

Hopefully they find a way to work through this and Shyiak can stay at UAA. He's done a great job with the Seawolves this year, and has all but erased the memories of last year's last place season, and last summer's controversial release of both assistant coaches, and the transfers of some of the team's older players. He clearly has UAA headed in the right direction and it would be terrible to see them have to make a change.


Donald said...

This joint is the reddest freakin state in the country but thankfully enough of them take enough of a libertarian view that an ultra-left wing marxist loving commie like me can still survive.

Anonymous said...

Berenson, Culhane, Roque, MacMillian....
There are 4 coaches off the top of my head who were born Canadian and aren't running into this problem. Probably because they at least got dual citizenship. Shyiak has been coaching in the states 10 freakin' years. If he hasn't gotton his citizenship or permanent resident status taken care of, then maybe it's time he goes home.

standing by for flames.

RR said...

Sorry, can't buy into the "victim" status for Coach Shyiak. He has to take responsibility for his predicament. He is truly in a difficult situation but he did have numerous opportunities to do the right thing long before now.

I hope it works out for him because he has done a good job this season.

As a coach, Shyiak must reinforce on a daily basis the need for personal responsibility and accountability among his players. Lack of personal responsibility and accountability may cost him his job.

Too bad. It isn't anyones fault but his own.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't Cobb make Shyiak go through this process before the hire, maybe as some sort of condition of the hire?

I know that the Hill resignation came out of left field, but wouldn't Cobb have been better off hiring one of the already-present assistants as interim head coach and waiting until he could do a full search? Or naming Shyiak interim coach until he could do a full search and get Shyiak through the citizenship process?

Anonymous said...

Berenson played college hockey at Michigan years ago, then spent years in the NHL as a player and a few as a coach before returning to Michigan in the 80s. For all we know, he could have gotten his stuff taken care of 30 years ago, before he became a coach at Michigan.

UAA Pride said...

If I understand the immigration laws, then dual citizenship is not an option for Shyiak. He could apply for citizenship but if he gained it I believe that he would have to renounce his Canadian citizenship. Maybe he has a sense of nationalim like most Canadians and does not want to hurt that. Or how much easier it might make to do recruiting trips and family visits into Canada, although its not exactly hard to get into Canada. But it seems that this whole thing isn't as simple as the naysayers make it out to be.

blockski said...

Also, if any of those aforementioned Canadian coaches had an American spouse, this wouldn't be an issue.

Shyiak's wife is Canadian, IIRC.

Donald said...


First. You don't have to renounce the citizenship of your origin to become an American citizen. Naturally, the American government doesn't "recognize" any "duality" in Citizenship (because being an American is so much better and more important than being a citizen of some other lesser country). They think once you're an American then you shouldn't be anything else. Of course, virtually EVERY other country in the world recognizes dual citizenship. Another example of the hubris of Americans. Luckily for me, that attitude was never codified.

The fact that he didn't get this taken care of before now is certainly his responsibility and naturally UAA and it's fanbase should pay the price for that. It's beautiful to see the fraternity of college hockey fans rallying to support each others programs against the (never ridiculous) federal regulations that threaten the UAA program and its fanbase.

Hopefully in the future some of the programs you fine people support face some sort of arcane federal hoohaw that threatens their stability. I'd enjoy that.

Kelly said...

If these other candidates were gentlemen, they would withdraw their applications.

Suze said...

Well said Kelly.

rr said...

Hey Donald,

As a matter of fact, being an American "citizen" IS MUCH BETTER AND MORE IMPORTANT than being a "subject" of some lesser country. Since you lack the brainpower to understand and appreciate that you live in the GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD why don't you go where you feel most comfortable.

You know, someplace that allows you unfettered freedom of speech, or someplace that allows you to to practice whatever religion you want to. Or some place that you don't have to carry "papers" in order to travel inside of the country. Or some place that allows you to be whoever you want to be. Or some place that you can own as many guns as you like without the government requiring you to register them.

Leftist jerks like you don't know how good you have it as "citizens" of America. Maybe you would prefer to be a "subject" in some socialist country.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Anonymous said...


A description of the US naturalization oath is given in Section 337(a) of the INA [8 USC § 1448(a)]. Of particular relevance to the dual citizenship issue is that, as part of the oath, a new citizen must pledge "to renounce and abjure absolutely and entirely all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which the applicant was before a subject or citizen."

I think you're wrong by the letter of the law. It may, however, be that little is done to enforce this provision.

Anonymous said...

Clearly two LAST place finishes in a row. And 5 more players leaving the team led by Nathan Lawson.