The University of Maine won’t announce the name of its new men’s ice hockey head coach until next week.
Tyson McHatten, the senior associate athletic director for external operations and communications, said the job posting has closed and reference checks are being conducted. He expects the announcement to come no later than May 12.
UMaine athletics director Ken Ralph recently said he had hoped to have the hire completed by Saturday.
The new coach will replace the late Red Gendron, who died on April 9 while playing golf at the Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono. He led the program for the last eight seasons.
Two of the top remaining candidates may be named Ben.
Ben Guite is serving as the interim head coach after working under Gendron, most recently as the associate head coach. The 42-year-old former UMaine and NHL forward has been with the program for eight years and has expressed his interest taking over the program.
Ben Barr is the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Massachusetts, which last month won its first NCAA national championship. A Hockey East insider said Barr’s name is usually mentioned when a head coaching job comes open.
UMaine is not revealing the names of potential finalists.
Barr, a 39-year-old native of Faribault, Minnesota, was a captain at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute when Ralph was the AD there and became an assistant coach at RPI under Ralph.
Barr joined the UMass staff in 2016 and helped the Minutemen win their first Hockey East regular-season championship in 2019. He coaches the defensemen and this year’s team allowed 1.66 goals per game which ranked second in the country.
Ralph recently said Guite is doing an exemplary job as the interim head coach and presented him an impressive comprehensive plan for elevating the UMaine program’s stature if he lands the job.
UMaine hasn’t reached the Hockey East semifinals since 2012, also the last time the Black Bears made the NCAA Tournament.
Former UMaine All-America defenseman and seven-year New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, a Bangor resident, said Friday he isn’t in the mix because of the timing of the process. He is an associate coach with the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, whose season doesn’t end until next week.