BANGOR, Maine — The process to recruit the best youth hockey coaches may be turning more intense as players get more options for where they play.
Organizations are trying to put together their pool of available coaches now because tryouts for next season’s teams take place in late March and early April.
“We are feeling the pressure from the Maine Moose and other private teams,” said Todd Cray, chairman of the board of the Maine Freeze. “We have to find the best coaches available.”
The Maine Freeze handles the Tier II and Tier III travel teams for eastern and northern Maine. Those are the top two team skill levels for the state, and the age groups involved are Squirts (9-10), Peewees (11-12) and Bantams (13-14). The oldest are Midgets (Minor, 15-16; and Major, 17-18), and they have one skill level each.
Cray believes the Bangor area has a large number of qualified people. It’s a matter of encouraging them to apply, which is the first step in the process.
“I feel there is a vast untapped resource out there,” said Cray.
Parents have been the backbone of the coaching contingent for many years, and not just in youth hockey. Cray believes that pool has to be expanded to include more nonparents, which he thinks many parents would appreciate.
“I think they would all say they’d rather be in the stands watching,” said Cray. “As someone who coached his sons for years, I would much rather have been on the sideline cheering.”
He said that because someone is a parent, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t apply.
“There are some very qualified parents, such as [former University of Maine star] Justin Tomberlin,” said Cray. Tomberlin is coaching the Freeze’s Tier III Squirts this year, which includes his son Justin.
Lance Ingerson is an example of a nonparent coach. The young newcomer to the area coaches both the Midget Major and Tier III Bantam squads.
“I think 8-10 nonparents are going to apply, but it’s very early in the process,” said Cray, adding that “parents will still be a big part” of the Freeze.
The deadline to apply is Feb. 17.
Notices have been sent out to go on local youth organizations’ websites and at local rinks. For information, contact Cray at email@example.com or call him at 478-0896.
After Feb. 17, a committee will interview the candidates to prepare a list to present to the board.
Southern Maine Travel Hockey, which encompasses the areas south and west of Portland, is also asking for interested people to apply. Applicants should email a note expressing interest before Feb. 1 to Rich McSorley at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mikel Garand at email@example.com.
Update for girls skills session, tour
Saturday’s skills session at the University of Maine set up by Adventure Girls has been moved to the Campus Recreation Center on Hilltop Road because of a scheduling change at Alfond.
The time remains the same, 1-3 p.m.
Members of the UMaine women’s hockey team will talk about their experiences in becoming college players and use floor hockey to conduct skill sessions.
The event, which is free, was originally designed for girls in grades 2 through 6, but now girls older than grade 6 may also attend.
Ray Jean will conduct a free presentation on the Art of Goaltending at noon Feb. 5 at the Shipyard Lounge at the Colisee in Lewiston.
Jean will also answer questions from players and coaches. The presentation is open to all Zone 3 goaltenders, their parents and their coaches. Those planning to attend are asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include the number of people attending.
Girls U-10 clinic
Michele Amidon will conduct an on-ice clinic for girls ages 10 and under at the Colisee from 3:20 to 4:20 p.m. Feb. 18.
Amidon is a former U.S. national team player and former head coach at Bowdoin College in Brunswick (1998-2006).
Lewiston-Auburn Youth Hockey is hosting the clinic, which is open to all girls registered with, or living within, the LAYH, Auburn, Casco and Midcoast leagues.
Capacity is limited and registration is first come, first served. The deadline is Wednesday, and registration should be emailed to email@example.com and include the player’s name, email address and youth hockey affiliation.