Ben Guite found a brand new world in his first season as a head coach for the ECHL’s Maine Mariners.
The previous College of Maine participant and eight-year assistant/affiliate head coach went from teaching a university staff with roughly 25 gamers on its roster and having a 34-game schedule to teaching 54 gamers and taking part in 72 common season video games.
The Mariners completed tied for third within the six-team North Division and with a file of 33 wins, 31 losses, 5 time beyond regulation losses and three shootout losses. Their 74 factors tied them with the Trois-Rivieres Lions.
The Mariners had been ousted in six video games within the first spherical of the Kelly Cup playoffs by the Studying Royals (Philadelphia Flyers affiliate), who completed the common season with 99 factors which was second most within the 27-team league.
Guite is underneath contract for yet one more yr with the father or mother Boston Bruins, and has realized easy methods to adapt to the unpredictable nature of minor league sports activities, which includes a revolving door of gamers coming and going on a regular basis.
“It was an ideal studying expertise, that’s for certain,” stated the 43-year-old Guite, who was briefly interim head coach of the Black Bears after head coach Pink Gendron died unexpectedly. “If you play 78 video games, it’s like two or three seasons. To have that many gamers [coming and going] retains you in your toes. You need to preserve issues quite simple and also you want nice management.”
Guite stated he had 23 gamers known as as much as the American Hockey League.
They typically had stretches once they would play three video games in three nights and 4 video games in 5 nights. There was little or no apply time.
“There have been instances it was exhausting to place a staff collectively. We had three guys come out of retirement to assist us discipline a staff,” he stated.
School groups play the overwhelming majority of their video games on weekends and have at the least three or 4 practices every week.
Guite was concerned within the player-personnel choices and the recruitment of gamers. However he was recruiting gamers who had been going to play instantly.
In faculty, you might be recruiting gamers for the subsequent season, and even two or three seasons down the highway.
“He additionally needed to be a normal supervisor, in a manner,” stated former UMaine heart Patrick Shea, who was the Mariners’ seventh-leading scorer this previous season with 31 factors on 15 objectives and 16 assists in 60 video games together with 10 factors (5 objectives, 5 assists) in his final 10 video games.
Shea stated Guite did an excellent job in his first season as a head coach.
He defined that Guite exhibited the power to be a personable and laid-back participant’s coach but additionally be a coach who holds his gamers accountable for his or her performances and insists on most effort.
“He discovered the steadiness very well. When he turned the change on, he was all enterprise. All of the gamers revered him,” Shea stated.
“I beloved taking part in for him,” stated one other former Black Bear, heart Brendan Robbins. “He had an open door coverage. You possibly can go in and discuss to him about something. Each participant is completely different however he knew what it took to encourage every participant.”
Shea stated Guite’s huge expertise as a professional participant served him properly.
Guite had a 911-game professional profession after his 4 seasons at UMaine and that included a 184-game NHL profession, together with 10 playoff video games. He helped lead UMaine to its final NCAA title in 1998-99. He had 47 objectives and 49 assists in 146 video games at UMaine.
Guite stated he was lucky that former Mariners coach Riley Armstrong, who left to turn out to be an assistant coach within the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, left him with a full cabinet.
“The gamers had nice attitudes and had been hard-working guys who performed for one another,” stated Guite. “They had been keen to be coached. They needed to study and get higher.”
He had a number of former Black Bears together with Shea, Robbins, winger Eduards Tralmaks and defenseman J.D. Greenway.
Robbins had seven objectives and 13 assists in 54 common season video games, Greenway had 5 assists in 26 video games, and Tralmaks notched 4 objectives and three assists in simply two video games earlier than being recalled by the AHL’s Windfall Bruins, the place he wound up notching 14 objectives and 13 assists in 51 video games.
“[Tralmaks] hadn’t been taking part in in Windfall so that they despatched him all the way down to us. He actually lit it up for us and bought an injection of confidence that he wanted. It’s exhausting to develop confidence sitting within the stands. He went on to turn out to be one among Windfall’s higher gamers till he bought harm on the finish of the season,” stated Guite, a Montreal native who nonetheless lives in Bangor with spouse Kristen and sons Patrick and Max.
Guite is already trying ahead to subsequent season and feels he will probably be extra snug now that he has a yr underneath his belt.
“I’m excited to construct on what we did this yr,” Guite stated. “The requirements will probably be increased. It was a extremely enjoyable course of.”