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Gendron Deserves Coach of the Year. But Not a New Contract


There's no denying the University of Maine men's hockey team just had its best season in years.

The Black Bears reaped some postseason awards, with goaltender Jeremy Swayman earning Hockey East Player of the Year honors and Red Gendron being chosen Coach of the Year.

Swayman subsequently signed with the Boston Bruins while Gendron will be behind the bench again next year.

The Black Bears' bench boss deserved his postseason laurel. His team overachieved and would've been dangerous had the Coronavirus epidemic not wiped out the Hockey East and NCAA Tournaments.

Some fans are even talking "contract extension." Let's pump the breaks on that for the time being.

Gendron's contract expires at the end of next season. Should the Black Bears take a step back next season, athletic administrator Ken Ralph may regret giving Gendron a new deal.

UMaine will have a vastly different look next season. With Swayman heading to the NHL, freshman Matthew Theissen and incoming recruit Victor Ostman will be battling for the top goaltending job. Tim Doherty could return as a graduate student, but offensive stalwarts such as Mitch Fossier, Ryan Smith and Pat Shea are graduating. Junior Eduards Tralmarks is undrafted but is garnering attention from NHL teams, and it's not impossible that he could sign a pro contract.

Gendron proved a lot of skeptics wrong this season, but can he string together consecutive great seasons? The margin for error in Hockey East will be just as razor-thin next season as it was this season.

But let's wait until this time in 2021 to be talking about new contracts.

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