At the 2018 Southern Aroostook Minor Hockey Association end of season awards banquet Mitch Holmes (far left) presented the State Farm Southern Aroostook Volunteer of the Year Award to Joel Trickey. With them is SAMHA President Serenna Fitzpatrick. Credit: Courtesy of SAMHA

Joel Trickey is enjoying himself as he begins his second tour of duty as the hockey coach of the Houlton-Hodgdon-Southern Aroostook-Katahdin-Southern Aroostook cooperative program.

Trickey had guided the Blackhawks’ fortunes for 12 seasons before being replaced by Tony Marino in 2013.

Trickey’s 2010-2011 team posted a 16-4 record and reached the Class B North championship game.

“It’s exciting. It is uplifting,” said the 66-year-old Trickey. “I had wanted to get back into it. I had been assisting for a Peewee team [ages 11-12].”

The Blackhawks are coming off a 3-14-1 season, but they feature one of Class B North’s best defenseman in Jason Collett, an all-league first-team selection a year ago, and goalie Elijah Matheson, a third-team pick two years ago.

“There’s a lot more planning and more logistics involved. But it has been really good so far,” Trickey said of transitioning back to varsity hockey. “The boys have responded really well to what we’re trying to do. We’ve been teaching them new systems. I’m excited to see what they can do.”

Mitch Holmes, Trickey’s former longtime assistant, is back helping out with the team. They worked together with the Peewee team last winter when Trickey assisted Holmes. Neal Campbell will also serve as an assistant for the Blackhawks.

“We expect the team to do fairly well,” said Trickey, who has 16 skaters and two goalies.

Houlton-Hodgdon opened its season on Saturday with a 3-1 loss to Camden Hills. The Blackhawks are scheduled to face Presque Isle at 6 p.m. Tuesday.