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.



  1. George

     /  June 18, 2012

    The whole problem with the WEEI announcement, besides its timing, was the fact that in the release they forgot the sentence “and the University is still actively looking for a radio home for the hockey team.” That’s all they had to say to keep us puckheads happy but some dope who drew up the release forgot that, or as you suggest Rocks, omitted it “on purpose” (the continual branding of black sheep on this program).
    We have to remember, that even if UMass hockey was closer to the (alleged) top 2, there is absolutely no room at WEEI. There are four sports vying for positioning on one signal. And there is no other FM willing to take on hockey or UMass Sports. If there was one, I’d love to here from Nelligan or the station group that was. Clear Channel (KIX, WHYN) wants no part of it, nor does 1990’s home Saga from all reports. It’s been written often 106.3 in Noho and WMAS FM have had no interest and I don’t see why that would have changed. That leaves WMUA and it’s pretty well known throughout the campus that that station is no friend to UMass hockey.
    So the choices are an awful AM signal no one can get and/or the internet.

    Real dark clouds Rocks.


  2. John

     /  June 19, 2012

    Looks like that we need a Head Coach now too. Just announced on


    • Anonymous

       /  June 20, 2012

      Thanks for the update John. I also heard that the Germans recently bombed Pearl may want to let your folks/gramma know…


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