The UMass hockey team announced today that former Minuteman James Marcou has been added to Greg Carvel’s staff as a volunteer assistant coach. Marcou was a star player for UMass from 2007-2010. During his time in Amherst he was a 2nd Team All-American, All-Hockey East selection, and a Hobey Baker nominee. Despite only playing three years Marcou is fourth all-time in scoring in the program’s history with 130 points in 111 games. His 96 career assists is more than any other player who suited up for the program.
This is a home run (what’s the hockey equivalent, a breakaway goal?) move by Carvel. Marcou is seen as an up-and-comer in the coaching ranks. Since a serious neck injury derailed his pro dreams in 2011 he has become a teacher of the game. Most recently he was an assistant coach for Milton Academy where he earned high praise. Being listed as a generous 5’8” Marcou couldn’t rely on skill alone when he played, though he was extremely talented. But he really was able to maximize that talent due to his intelligence and vision on the ice. It’s not a surprise that he’s been able to repurpose that knowledge into coaching. UMass was not the only DI program that was pursuing Marcou for a position this offseason. But his first choice was to return to his alma mater.
This move will be a popular one with fans who remember Marcou as a dynamic player who brought the capacity Mullins crowds to their feet often during his career. Really, the program has not been the same since he turned pro after the 2010-11 season, along with Casey Wellman and Matt Irwin. There’s a very good chance he would’ve been a Hobey Baker finalist if he had returned for his final year. Now fans will be able to see him kick off his college coaching career. Though Marcou left after his junior year, he did complete his degree from the Isenberg School of Management.
Lastly, this hire goes a long way to help rebuild the relationship with the player alumni which had suffered under the previous coaching administration. Carvel’s hire was really seen as a chance to start over when it came to player alumni engagement and in the short time he’s been in the position he appears to have made it a priority of his. This will help further that cause.
Welcome back Marcooooouuuuuu!
The NHL Draft is this weekend. There’s only one UMass connection that seems likely to hear his name called and that’s goaltending recruit Matt Murray. NHL Central Scouting ranks Murray as the 25th best North American goaltender which translates to about a 6th or 7th round draft pick.
I still think there’s a chance defenseman Callum Fryer gets selected this weekend. He was on Central Scouting’s list at the beginning of the season but dropped off in their more recent rankings. I honestly don’t know why as he put in a very solid rookie season against Hockey East competition. He’s already on the NHL’s radar since he attended Maple Leafs development camp in the past so he may ultimately become a draft pick.