University of Maine freshman winger Josh Henke has left the program, according to head coach Red Gendron.
Henke, who had a goal and seven assists last season, played in 21 games but didn’t dress for four of the last five games. He was a scholarship player.
Gendron wouldn’t discuss the circumstances but said, “I wish Josh Henke the best of luck moving forward.”
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Henke, a native of Trenton, Michigan, couldn’t be reached for comment.
The 20-year-old Henke had played for the Jersey Hitmen in 2012-13 and will return to the United States Premier Hockey League team, according to Jersey general manager and coach Toby Harris.
Henke had 26 goals and 44 assists in 51 games for Jersey.
Harris said a rumor that Henke was cut by Gendron is incorrect.
“It was a mutual decision [to part ways],” said Harris.
Harris noted that Henke was recruited by former head coach Tim Whitehead and Whitehead and Gendron are “different.”
Harris explained that Gendron likes his forwards to go “north and south” with passion and grit, and to battle hard for loose pucks, while Henke is more of a finesse player and goal scorer who likes to go “east and west” and get himself into a spot where he can release his shot.
Henke is more of a “read-and-react” forechecker, said Harris.
“I’m not going to say Josh isn’t [tough] because you aren’t going to score 26 goals if you aren’t. But Red is old school and he wanted more [compete] from him,” said Harris.
Three other former Hitmen forwards had productive years for Gendron in Steven and Jon Swavely and Connor Leen.
Maine went 16-15-4 under first-year coach Gendron last season.