ORONO, Maine — University of Maine interim hockey coach Bob Corkum said he is looking forward to being the head coach of the United States Under-18 Select team that will participate in the 23rd annual Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia from Aug. 6 to 10.
Since winning the tournament in 2003, the United States has earned just two medals, a pair of silvers in 2006 and 2010.
The United States has won 10 medals in the 22 years of the tourney: a gold, seven silvers and two bronzes.
“I’m excited about it,” said Corkum, who will attend a camp for the Selects team in Williamsville, N.Y., from June 26 to July 3.
He was an assistant for the 2012 U.S. Under-18 Select team after serving as the head coach of the Under-17 team that went 4-0 and won the Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich. He also coached the Select 16 team from 2006 to 2008.
Corkum, who was an associate head coach of the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs (Junior-A, amateur) from 2006 to 2008, is one of the candidates to replace Tim Whitehead, who was fired last month after spending 12 years behind the Maine bench.
A search committee is in the process of interviewing candidates and Maine athletic director Steve Abbott said he is hopeful that they can choose a coach within two weeks.
“It’s a long process. It’s tough, at times, to be patient,” said Corkum, who has been the associate head coach at Maine for the past five seasons. “I trust in the system. I’m sure there are a lot of good candidates.”
Corkum, who played four seasons at Maine (159 games, 56 goals, 76 assists) before embarking upon an impressive 720-game NHL career (97 & 103), received strong endorsements for the job from three of the departing seniors at the team’s annual banquet on Friday night at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.
Right winger Joey Diamond said Corkum “bleeds Maine blue.”
Corkum said he was grateful to the players and that he has spent a lot of time talking to them since Whitehead was fired to make sure “we’re all on the same page” in terms of their preparation for next season.
“They’re a great bunch of guys,” said Corkum.
Corkum couldn’t comment on the coach-search process.
“I’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” he said.
There were several other candidate names that were prominently mentioned in discussion at the banquet, including former Wisconsin assistant Mark Osiecki, who was recently fired after three seasons as the head coach at Ohio State; former longtime University of New Hampshire assistant Dave Lassonde, who spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Denver; deposed Denver coach George Gwozdecky, who lost out in his bid to land the UConn job to Boston College assistant Mike Cavanaugh; former Maine Hobey Baker Award winner and NHL winger Scott Pellerin, the head coach for Bridgeport of the American Hockey League; former Maine goalie and Colby head coach Jim Tortorella, an assistant at the University of New Hampshire this past season; and Red Gendron, the former Maine assistant and current assistant for the NCAA champion Yale Bulldogs.
New York Islanders head coach and former Black Bear All-American defenseman Jack Capuano was also mentioned but he told the BDN Sunday night that “I haven’t even thought about it.
“I can’t comment because I’m under contract to the Islanders. We have our [end-of-season] meetings this week. I’ll meet with the players and then I’ll meet with Garth [Islanders general manager and former Maine goalie Garth Snow] and we’ll sit down and talk about the direction we’re going in.”
The Islanders made the playoffs for the first time since 2007 and as the eighth seed took top-seeded Pittsburgh to six games in the Stanley Cup playoffs’ Eastern Conference quarterfinals.
Capuano has a home in Bangor and daughter Adrianna attends the University of Maine and son Anthony will attend Maine beginning next fall and will play baseball for the Black Bears.
Capuano’s wife, Donna [Stevenson], is a Bangor native.
Capuano said he is glad the search committee is taking its time to ensure that they choose the right coach. He feels it is an attractive job and that the program can return to prominence.
“They get statewide support, they have a [great] fan base and people in the area have passion for the sport,” said Capuano.
Maine has made just one NCAA Tournament appearance over the past six seasons after a string of nine consecutive berths.