OLD TOWN, Maine — Old Town High School graduate Ryan Bernard will return to his alma mater to coach the ice hockey team.
Bernard will replace Brett Hale, who said in a previous BDN report that he resigned after five years as the head coach to spend more time with his son, Khaleb.
Hale directed the Coyotes to consecutive Eastern Maine Class B playoff appearances the past two seasons, ending a playoff drought that had dated back to the 1993 season.
“Ryan brings a lot of enthusiasm and energy to the program,” said Old Town athletic director Brett Hoogterp. “He has a strong desire to take the program to the next level.”
Bernard had played hockey at Old Town through his junior year, according to Hoogterp.
He had coached several other sports in Arizona before moving back to the area.
Hoogterp said Bernard was one of four applicants for the job.
Bernard could not be reached for comment.
Teams are allowed to begin practicing on Nov. 19.
The coyotes had won five games combined in Hale’s second and third seasons before he led them to an 11-7-1 record and a spot in the regional semifinals during the 2010-2011 season, earning him Coach of the Year honors. Old Town went 9-8-1 during the regular season last year and beat Hampden Academy in the quarterfinals before losing to Brewer in the semis.
The coyotes graduated several key players off last year’s team.
“This will definitely be a building year,” said Hoogterp.
The coyotes used to be a power in hockey, winning back-to-back state Class B championships in 1992 and ’93.
But the closure of their Sockalexis Ice Arena on Indian Island in the fall of 1993 proved to be pivotal in the demise of the program until Hale resurrected its success.