After 28 years as head coach of the men’s ice hockey team, Jeff Beaney retired over the winter break and the reason why has been left unclear.
According to Chris Quint, USM’s executive director of public affairs. Beaney would have ideally finished up the rest of the season with his team, but a “variety of factors” spurred talks of Beaney’s early retirement amongst Bean and President David Flanagan.
Quint mentioned an anonymous letter that was sent to both Bean and Flanagan expressing some concern with the longtime hockey coach. Quint said he didn’t care to get into the full details of the letter, but that it was first mentioned in the press by the Maine Hockey Network.
“Now, after Coach Beaney announced his retirement, we’re looking towards the future and the hope of rebuilding this team,” said Quint.
Beany declined to speak about his retirement to the Free Press, but told the Maine Hockey Journal that the decision to retire was not entirely his.
“The decision was made [President] David Flanagan. I didn’t choose to leave now on my own. There are six weeks left in the season, and I would have liked to finish them out. [ Athletic Director] Al [Bean] is taking the blame, but the decision was not his,” Beany told a MHJ reporter.
The Division III Husky’s are 1-9 this year and have suffered nine consecutive losses. Beaney has been working with the hockey team for 30 years and 28 as head coach. The last time the team had a winning season was in 2008. Since Beaney’s time at USM, the Huskies have been 260-380-50 and without a championship title.
“The hockey team has been struggling for some time now,” said Quint.
In the meantime, former player and assistant coach, Ed Hardy will take Beaney’s place as coach, but just temporarily. According to Hardy, he was the last person to know of Beaney’s retirement and received a phone call saying the hockey program was “in a bit of a jam.” After meeting with Bean, he agreed to take over Beaney’s position.
“Hardy’s our new interim coach,” said Quint. “He’s here to stabilize the team and start building towards a new season. Once that’s over, we’ll announce the search for a new, permanent coach.”
As of now, Hardy plans on submitting his name for consideration as the new, permanent head coach.
Hardy has coaching experience with the Lewiston Maineiacs as well as at North Yarmouth Academy, Casco Bay Youth Hockey and the New England Wolves junior team.
According to Hardy, his goals are to make sure the four seniors on the team get the most out of their last season playing, citing that college is supposed to be the best years of a person’s life.
“I don’t want them to leave here with a bad taste in their mouth,” said Hardy. “Win or lose, we’re going to play hard and we’re going to have some fun doing it.”
Players like freshman double major in international business and marketing, Victor Ivarsson thought highly of former coach Beaney and are sad to see him go.
“This is an unfortunate situation for us all, but we’ll rebuild and get even stronger,” said Ivarsson. “I enjoyed having Beaney as a coach and I’m positive many others did as well.”
Quint is also optimistic about the future, adding that although they’ve faced some challenges, the team still has a lot of potential.