News On Potential Assistant Coaches

College Hockey News’ Joe Meloni had a few tweets over the weekend about UMass’ open assistant position.


Have it from a source that John Hamre is most likely to replace Blaise MacDonald as UMass assistant coach.

However he later tweeted:


Hearing that Cahoon’s contract along with family issues possibly preventing Hamre from taking job. Cahoon’s contract expires after this year

Following that he mentioned Byron Pool is a candidate.  And tonight he relayed to me the news that Kyle Wallack is on UMass’ list as well.

Hamre is currently the Associate Head Coach of the NAHL’s Michigan Warriors.  Prior to that he was the head coach at the Blake School in Minnesota, coaching former Minuteman John Wessbecker.  He has been an assistant coach under Toot Cahoon at Princeton as well as Yale and Alaska-Anchorage.  Here’s an article from when he was hired by the Warriors last year (it incorrectly states that Hamre coached at Blaine School).  The Warriors also posted this youtube video with Hamre.

Pool on the other hand is the Associate Head Coach of the USHL’s Fargo Force, where Oleg Yevenko played.  Prior to that he was head coach of the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL, coaching Emerson Auvenshine for a season, leading the team to a league championship.  Pool played four years at defense for Colgate.

Wallack was recently let go as the head coach of the Indiana Ice, a surprise move to all since the team had the second best record in the USHL before he was fired at season’s end.  Before that he was the associate head coach at Yale (Wallack’s departure allowed former UMass assistant Red Gendron to take his spot with the Bulldogs).  Wallack has also been an assistant at Holy Cross, UConn, and Quinnpiac.  Wallack played at Springfield College and coached the Junior Falcons to an EJHL championship.

Overall all three seem like good candidates.  It’s not a surprise that the fact that Toot’s contract is only through this year could be an issue with any candidate moving their families cross country.  There is some definitely instability surrounding the program going into this season.  Another person I hope they’d at least reach out to would be Darren Yopyk, who was once a grad assistant at UMass.  Following that he was an assistant coach for Mark Dennehy at Merrimack and then went on to become the head coach of the Westside Warriors of the BCHL (coaching Kevin Boyle).  Yopyk is currently a scout for the Minnesota Wild and was a candidate for the Northeastern job last offseason.  I’ve heard a lot of great things about Yopyk and if he were willing to come on as an assistant it could be an opportunity to groom him for the head coaching job if Toot decides to retire after the season. had this excellent story about former UMass goaltending coach Jim Stewart coming back for one final season to help mentor Jon Quick.

The Republican’s Harry Plummer has coverage of Blaise MacDonald’s departure for Colby.

Plummer’s addition to the Republican/Masslive staff means that Dick Baker will no longer be posting blog entries about UMass hockey.  It’s unclear if he’ll still cover the team for the print stories.  Either way it’ll be too bad to not have his semi-regular updates on the team.  Baker has covered hockey in Western Mass for over 30 years.

Lastly, as of now UMass hockey still doesn’t have a home on the radio dial.  Even more sadly, I’ve spoken to a number of people surrounding UMass athletics in the last few days and no one has refuted my suggestion last week that the lack of a radio deal is further evidence that the athletic department is not giving the program enough focus and resources to be successful.  Quite frankly, even in the wake of Jon Quick thrusting UMass hockey into the national spotlight, there are dark clouds forming over the Mullins ice.