Iditarod champion Seavey wins men’s Pride of Alaska Award
Dallas Seavey’s five titles in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race are tied for the most of all-time.
When it comes to the Pride of Alaska Award, though, he’s in a class all by himself.
Seavey became the first two-time men’s Pride of Alaska Award winner after a vote by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
The dog driver from Willow by way of Seward earned the win in a closely contested vote over fellow finalists Daishen Nix and Jeremy Swayman of Anchorage.
Nix turned pro straight out of high school and led the NBA G League in assists as a rookie.
Swayman has taken the NHL by storm with the Boston Bruins after posting five wins and a shutout in his first seven appearances.
Beating those guys was no easy task, but Seavey has been a winner for his entire life.
A former state champion wrestler in high school, the 34-year-old is now primed to rewrite the Iditarod history book.
He won the 2021 race with an official winning time of 7 days, 14 hours, 8 minutes and 57 seconds for his fifth title, which tied him with Alaska Sports Hall of Famer Rick Swenson for the most wins in the illustrious race’s 50-year history.
The victory marked a triumphant return for Seavey, who took a three-year break from the Iditarod after being penalized, and ultimate cleared of wrongdoing in 2018 by race officials after his dogs tested positive for a banned substance.
Seavey previously won four titles in a five-year span, starting in 2012.
In 2016, Seavey shared the Pride of Alaska Award with the undefeated Soldotna High football team.
This year he stood tall on his own, overcome stiff competition from Nix and Swayman.
Nix, 19, is a rising star in the hoops game and is highly likely to be picked in next month’s NBA draft, maybe as early as the first round.
A 6-foot-5 guard from Anchorage, he became the third Alaskan to score 25 points in a G League game, doing so on his 19th birthday in a win for the Ignite.
In 15 games, Nix averaged 8.8 points and 5.3 assists.
As a senior in high school, Nix became the first Alaskan since the Big 3 to earn high school McDonald’s All-American status.
He then decided to skip college and go straight to the pro level in the G League.
Swayman has enjoyed amazing successful in the NHL only months after a sensational final season of college hockey at the University of Maine.
As a junior with the Black Bears, he was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award and won the Mike Richter Award before signing an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins.
Swayman started his pro career in the AHL and went 8-1 in nine appearances with the Providence Bruins before getting called up the NHL.
He made memorable NHL debut after turning aside 40 shots in a 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers to become just the third Alaska goalie to play in the NHL and the 17th Alaskan to log ice time in the world’s premier hockey league.
In his first seven games, the South High grad went 5-2 with a 1.67 goals against average.
The Pride of Alaska Award dates back to 2012 and is given to an athlete or athletes, team or coach who excelled in sports in the past year or recent years, and did so with integrity and sportsmanship and been a positive role model.
Men’s Pride of Alaska Winners
2021: Dallas Seavey
2020: Gus Schumacher
2019: Keegan Messing
2018: Andrew Kurka
2017: David Norris
2016: Dallas Seavey and Soldotna High Football Team (co-winners)
2015: Erik Flora
2014: Trevor Dunbar and Eric Strabel (co-winners)
2013: Mario Chalmers
2012: Alaska Aces