There’s progress in the Merrimack men’s hockey coaching search, and the college hopes to have a candidate in place before coaches meet in Florida at the end of April, according to sources.
Merrimack does not have interviews scheduled yet, but select group of finalists could be brought on campus as early as next week. Several candidates have been spoken to via telephone over the last two weeks.
According to sources close to the process, there are several candidates that have extensive NHL experience, including two current NHL assistant coaches and two coaches with former head coaching experience in the NHL.
Overall, more than 50 candidates have either officially applied or reached out to someone in the athletic department about the position.
Among the candidates TMR is able to confirm is Harvard associate head coach Paul Pearl, who was formerly the head coach at Holy Cross. Pearl, according to sources, could be the frontrunner for the position at this point.
Merrimack has interest in current AIC head coach Eric Lang, according to sources. Lang helped turn around the Army program as an assistant and helped AIC to a program record in wins this past season in only his second year. Merrimack associate head coach Curtis Carr, who was retained in the transition, has also applied for the job full-time. Trinity head coach Matthew Greason is also considered a candidate; Trinity is traditionally one of the best programs in Division III.
Penn State assistant coach Keith Fisher has expressed interest in the position. Fisher was with Guy Gadowsky at Princeton prior to joining him on staff at Penn State. Former Quinnipiac assistant coach and current Hershey Bears assistant coach Reid Cashman is considered a candidate. Cashman was an assistant under Rand Pecknold after he was a star defenseman for the Bobcats.
Both Kris Mayotte and Scott Borek, Providence assistant coaches, are interested in the job as is UMass Lowell assistant Cam Ellsworth. Vermont assistant Kyle Wallack and former Clarkson assistant Greg Dreschel, who is now a scout for the Columbus Blue Jackets, are also candidates, along with Bill Riga, a current Quinnipiac assistant, and Ben Syer, who is a former Quinnipiac assistant that is now the top assistant at Cornell.
It’s believed that Northeastern associate head coach Jerry Keefe and BU associate head coach Albie O’Connell are both interested, but have not officially applied. Former Miami assistant Brent Brekke reached out as did former Merrimack assistant coach and current UNH associate head coach Glenn Stewart.
Outside of college hockey, Penticton (BCHL) head coach Fred Harbinson applied for the position; Penticton is traditionally one of the best programs in the BCHL and Harbinson has college assistant experience at St. Cloud State. Former Rockford (AHL) head coach Ted Dent applied for the job. Former Maine assistant and New York Islander assistant Bob Corkum also applied for the job.
At least three Division III head coaches have applied, including Greason and Adam Krug from Adrian College.