Ben Barr is the next men’s ice hockey coach at the University of Maine.
An assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts, Barr replaces head coach Dennis “Red” Gendron, who died April 9 following a medical emergency at Penobscot Valley Country Club in Orono.
“Being named the fifth head coach of the Maine Black Bears is an incredible honor and very humbling,” Barr said in a statement released by UMaine. “There is a tremendous sense of responsibility and pride from all of the student-athletes and coaches that have passed through this program, and we will bring that passion with us as we build a program which reflects the values of the State and University of Maine. The past year has taught us that we can not take anything for granted. Black Bear Hockey is an essential part of the University and the community, and I know the people of Maine are eager to see their Black Bears compete for Hockey East and NCAA Championships again.”
Ben Guite, a former UMaine player and assistant coach under Gendron, served as the team’s interim head coach over the last month.
Barr helped coach the Minutemen — a rival to Maine in Hockey East — to the national title this spring. The Minutemen beat St. Cloud State 5-0 on April 10 in Pittsburgh to take the crown.
“We are thrilled to welcome Ben Barr to the University of Maine,” UMaine athletic director Ken Ralph said in a statement. “He brings with him an amazing track record of success in collegiate hockey. In a very competitive field of candidates, Ben stood alone with his comprehensive plan for building and sustaining success for UMaine hockey. It was also clear from the research we conducted with people throughout the hockey world that we have hired the exact right person for the job.”
Joining Ralph on the search committee were former UMaine hockey standouts Jim Montgomery, Garth Snow and Bruce Major, along with deputy director of athletics Brian Faison and associate athletic director for compliance Samantha Hegmann.
Barr spent five seasons at UMass, also helping the team reach the national championship game in 2019.
Barr served as UMass recruiting coordinator and coached the defensemen. Barr also coached Cale Makar, who won the 2019 Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player. Makar went on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie with the Colorado Avalanche in 2020.
As a player at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Barr served as team captain during his senior season in 2003-04. A Fairbault, Minnesota native, Barr scored 64 points (25 goals and 39 assists) in 140 career games with the Engineers.
“I’m really excited about the future of Maine hockey with Ben Barr as our head coach,” Montgomery, the program’s all-time leading scorer and captain of the 1993 national title-winning team, said. “He has shown the ability to recruit national championship teams in Hockey East while working with a vast number of great coaches.”
This story will be updated.