Ben Barr takes over as UMaine’s 5th head men’s hockey coach in program history
It’s a 4 year deal with an option for 2 extra years if successful
ORONO, Maine (WABI) - UMaine announcing former UMass associate head coach Ben Barr is its next head men’s hockey coach. It’s a 4-year deal with an option for 6-years if he has success.
“It’s really an honor to be named the fifth head coach for the Maine Black Bears,” say new UMaine head men’s hockey coach Ben Barr, “It’s something that in my wildest dreams, probably 10-15 years ago, I could’ve never imagined.”
Ben Barr has been an assistant or associate head coach for 15 years. He helped build national champions at Union and Providence who both won a year after he left. He also helped take UMass from 5 wins to this year’s national champion.
“Walking into that office knowing what I was going to tell them was hard, it was really hard, it was one of the hardest things that I have done,” says Barr, “We all dream of being able to go to a school like the University of Maine and Coach.”
Ken Ralph says they used a very hard approach to find the guy they wanted. Barr was their top guy
“I first met been in 2002. He was a student at RPI and he was special then. I mean you could just see it,” says UMaine Director of Athletics Ken Ralph who worked at RPI when Ben went there, “In fact I was probably a lot harder on Ben in the process than I was on other candidates because of that. He’s earned this opportunity.”
Barr has taken a piece from all the great coaches he has worked with and learned how to recruit well. 26 players in the NHL, 4 Hobey Baker finalists with one winner, and 13 All-Americans has him believing he can recruit in Orono too.
“Finding that next level of player who might fit your culture better,” says Barr, “Anytime you feel like you have to convince somebody to do something it becomes really hard to push them when they are in that program.”
But he doesn’t plan to change everything.
“My goal is to keep all the players that are in that locker room right now,” Ben says, “They all seem very excited and they all seem like they really really want to be here.”
While change won’t be magic, he does hope to restore some of it at the Alfond and wherever the Black Bears play.
“If you can get skilled players, with ability, that are competitive you are always going to be in every single game,” says Barr, “All of us getting on the same page and understanding like this is acceptable, this is not acceptable. You know because once that happens that’s when the magic really starts happening.”
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