Head Coach Tim Whitehead enters his 11th season at the helm of the University of Maine men's ice hockey program. With Whitehead behind the bench, the Black Bears have continued the success that has defined the program for over three decades.
In his 10 seasons as Head Coach, the Black Bears have advanced to the NCAA Tournament six times, played in four NCAA Frozen Fours, reached the NCAA National Championship Game twice, and won the Hockey East Tournament Championship. Over these ten years, Maine has compiled a 216-138-43 record. In 15 seasons as a Division I Head Coach, Whitehead has a career record of 292-233-54.
A former Black Bear Assistant with Shawn Walsh in 1990-91, Whitehead returned to Maine in 2001 under the most difficult and challenging circumstances. When Walsh passed away from cancer on September 24, 2001, Whitehead was named interim Head Coach. Whitehead led a team devastated by the loss of their legendary coach on an emotional run all the way into overtime of the 2002 NCAA National Championship Game in St. Paul, Minn.
Determined to do something special in honor of Coach Walsh, the Black Bears went 10-1-2 down the stretch, including wins over Boston College and Boston University in the Hockey East playoffs. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Maine defeated Harvard 4-3 on freshman John Ronan's overtime goal, then beat Boston University in the East Regional Final, setting up a Frozen Four matchup with the UNH Wildcats. In St. Paul, Minn., Maine's team scored four third period goals to rout UNH 7-2, and advance to the NCAA Championship game against host Minnesota.
Although the Black Bears did not prevail versus the Minnesota Gophers that night, the message had certainly been sent that Maine Hockey's proud tradition of success would continue to grow. Whitehead and his staff had delivered a remarkable coaching performance, for which he earned the AHCA's 2002 Spencer Penrose Award as Division 1 National Coach of the Year. Following the season, Whitehead was introduced as the third Head Coach in Maine Hockey history on April 8, 2002.
Throughout his career, Coach Whitehead has earned a reputation for getting his teams to play their best at the end of the season, especially in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, Whitehead's .625 NCAA winning percentage ranks second All-Time among Hockey East coaches, and third among all active NCAA Division 1 coaches. Coach Whitehead's teams are a perfect 4-0 against Hockey East teams in NCAA competition; with victories over BU and UNH in '02, BC in '04, and UMass in '07.
Maine finished 17-12-7 during the 2010–2011 season. The early part of the season was highlighted by a weekend sweep of then second ranked North Dakota, including a 7-3 win on national tv. Late in the season, the Black Bears put together a six game winning streak, which included a weekend sweep of fourth-ranked Merrimack.
The Black Bears were led by two-time All-American Gustav Nyquist, who led the team in scoring with 18 goals and 31 assists for 51 points. It was the second straight year that he eclipsed the 50-point plateau. Nyquist was once again named one of 10 finalists for the annual Hobey Baker Award, given to the nation's top player.
The 2009-2010 season got Black Bear fans thinking about the glory days of Maine hockey. Midway through the season, the Black Bears put together a run of 10-2-2 en route to the 2009 Florida College Classic Championship. The Black Bears won three of their last four games, including a pair of Hockey East quarterfinals wins against UML, and a 5-2 victory over defending national champion Boston University at the TD Garden. The Black Bears fell 7-6 in overtime to eventual national champion Boston College in the 2010 Hockey East Title game.
Maine's power play led the nation in scoring in 2009-10, converting at an impressive 27.7 percent clip with the man advantage. Sophomore standout Gustav Nyquist, who was named to the Hobey Baker Hat Trick, led the nation in scoring. Maine also excelled in the classroom, posting a 3.07 cumulative grade point average.
The Black Bears got off to a great start during the 2008-09 season, posting a 10-5-1 record in their first 16 games. Maine earned a Hockey East playoff berth and took on top-ranked Boston University in a best-of-three series. The Black Bears handed the eventual national champions a 6-3 loss in the second game of the series. It was BU's only loss in its last 25 games of the season. The 2008-09 Black Bears posted a 3.22 team GPA for the spring semester, the highest in the program's history, breaking their own mark from the previous year.
During the 2007-08, when a young Maine team fought through a tough year filled with serious injuries to key players, the Black Bears rose up to play their best down the stretch. Maine won five of their last six games, including two dramatic victories in overtime at the Alfond Arena.
In 2006-07, after losing their last four Hockey East games to UMass when starting goalie Ben Bishop suffered a knee injury, the Black Bears bounced back strong in the NCAA Tournament, knocking off St. Cloud State 4-1, and getting revenge over UMass 3-1, to win the NCAA Northeast Regional in Rochester, NY. Maine advanced to the Frozen Four for the 11th time in school history, and fourth time in six years under Coach Whitehead. The Black Bears were defeated by eventual National Champion, Michigan State, in St. Louis, but Maine's 23-15-2 final record marked the program's 9th straight 20-win season, and 6th in a row for Coach Tim Whitehead.
Maine has excelled in Special Teams play during Whitehead's tenure. In 2006-07, Maine's 25.4 power play percentage was first in the Nation. The previous year in 2005-06, the Black Bears had the top penalty kill in the country and the 5th ranked power play.
In 2005-06, the Black Bears finished tied for second in Hockey East regular season play, and recorded a strong 28-12-2 overall record. The Black Bears rode the strength of their Special Team's play to reach the Hockey East semifinals for the third-straight season and earn a bid to their eighth-straight NCAA Tournament. In the NCAA's, Maine defeated ECAC Tournament Champion Harvard 6-1, and then beat CCHA Tournament Champion Michigan State 5-4 in the Regional Final. Maine lost to eventual National Champion Wisconsin at the Frozen Four in Milwaukee.
Despite a slow start to the 2004-05 Season, Maine went unbeaten in eight-straight games in January. Key wins down the stretch of the season gave the Black Bears home ice in the Hockey East playoffs for the sixth straight year. Maine advanced to the Hockey East semifinals with back-to-back wins over UMass Lowell, but were defeated by Boston College at the Fleet Center in double overtime 2-1. Maine qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 15th time in school history. The Black Bears went toe to toe playing Minnesota on their home ice, as Jimmy Howard made 37 saves, but they lost 1-0 in OT, finishing the season at 20-13-7.
Team defense has also been a trademark of Coach Whitehead's teams at Maine. In fact, his 2003-04 Black Bears led the nation in both team defense and winning percentage with a 33-8-3 record. The 2003-04 season began with Maine knocking off two-time defending National Champion Minnesota in the first game of the season, and the Black Bears captured the Maverick Stampede Tournament title the following night with a 6-2 win over Wisconsin. After winning the first seven games of the season, the Black Bears were ranked first in the nation.
A loss at UMass Lowell on February 27 set the stage for Maine's amazing run in the 2004 postseason. Beginning with a 4-3 overtime win in the season finale against Boston College, the Black Bears won eight straight one-goal games. The winning streak included a triple overtime thriller against Massachusetts in the Hockey East Championship, won by the Black Bears 2-1. It was the longest game in Hockey East Tournament history, with Jimmy Howard stopping 66 shots (a Hockey East record), and Ben Murphy scoring the game-winner.
In the first round of the NCAA's, Maine rallied for a memorable 5-4 comeback win over Harvard, overcoming a three-goal deficit by scoring four goals in the third period. After a 2-1 overtime win over Wisconsin in the Regional Finals, Maine faced Hockey East rival Boston College at the Fleet Center in the Frozen Four and came away with a 2-1 win. The season ended with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Denver in the National Championship Game.
Maine got off to a fast start in 2002-03, and finished with a 24-10-5 record. Whitehead led Maine to the Black Bear Classic and Florida College Classic Championships, and completed the Hockey East regular season just two points out of first place. The Black Bears earned their fifth-straight NCAA Tournament berth, but once again had to face an opponent in their own rink. Maine lost a hard-fought 2-1 decision in the West Regional to Michigan at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor.
Whitehead came to Maine after serving as Head Coach of UMass Lowell for five seasons where he compiled a record of 76-93-11, including a 19-16-3 record in 2000-01 in which the River Hawks advanced to the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament for the third time in five years, after upsetting UNH in a three-game playoff series in Durham, NH. Following the season, Whitehead was honored as a finalist for AHCA National Coach of the Year for the 2nd time at UMass Lowell. While at Lowell, Whitehead also received the 1996 University Medal for Community Service.
Prior to running the UMass Lowell program, Whitehead spent five years as an assistant with the River Hawks under former Maine assistant Bruce Crowder, helping Crowder win the AHCA's National Coach of the Year honors in 1996. UMass Lowell reached the NCAA final eight in 1994 and 1996. Whitehead recruited two Hockey East Rookies of the Year (Greg Bullock '94 and Greg Koehler '97) and landed Lowell's only NHL 1st round draft pick ever, Ron Hainsey to quarterback his power play from 1999-2001. Hainsey currently patrols the blueline for the NHL's Winnipeg Jets.
Previously, Whitehead served as a Graduate Assistant Coach at Maine in 1990-91 with Shawn Walsh. That team made it to the Hockey East Championship game and advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Tournament. Maine finished the season with an impressive 32-9-2 mark; only four Black Bear hockey teams have won more games in a season.
Before coming to Maine, Whitehead spent two seasons as an Assistant Coach with Bill Beaney at Middlebury College from 1988-90, helping Beaney win the 1990 Division III National Coach of the Year honors, on their way to becoming ECAC Tournament Finalists, with a 21-5-1 record in 1989-90. It was Middlebury's first winning season in 10 years. After the season, Whitehead received the William Wallace Award, given annually to "the person having the most positive impact on the Middlebury hockey program by a non-player" as voted by the players.
Throughout his coaching career at Maine, UMass Lowell, and Middlebury, Coach Whitehead has earned respect as a tireless recruiter, with an eye for hidden talent. Over the years, he has recruited and coached five Hockey East Rookies of the Year, 25 All-Americans, and one Division III National Player of the Year.
Under Whitehead's direction, Maine continues to earn praise from NHL GM's and scouts as a program that consistently develops and produces pro players. Over 60 Maine players have now played in the NHL, and many more in the AHL and the elite leagues in Europe. Unfortunately, Maine's track record for developing players has led to an increasing number of Black Bears signing NHL contracts after only one season, including Dustin Penner, Teddy Purcell, and Andrew Sweetland. Gustav Nyquist signed with the Detroit Red Wings following his junior year in 2010-2011 season.
Since returning to Maine in 2001, fundraising and alumni relations have also been an important part of Coach Whitehead's work. After Coach Walsh passed away in 2001, Whitehead became the driving force behind the fundraising and construction of the $3.5 million Shawn Walsh Hockey Center, in honor of his former colleague. In addition, Whitehead reached out to former Maine Coach Jack Semler (1977-84) and his players to reconnect and honor all Maine Hockey Alums in the Maine Hockey Hall of Fame in the Alfond Arena (completed in 2005). And most recently, Coach Whitehead completed the fundraising for the $4.85 million Alfond Arena Renovation Project (AARP) on schedule for the 2011-12 season. Renovations include a new Arena floor, Ice Deck covering for basketball games, Ice Kube refrigeration system, HVAC system, boards & glass, lower bowl seating, improved sound system, and fire code & life safety upgrades.
Academic integrity and success has always been a priority for Coach Whitehead, and his team's academic progress speaks for itself. The men's hockey team's graduation rate and GPA have improved dramatically and consistently over the past ten years. In fact, in the spring of 2011, the Men's Hockey team recorded their 8th straight semester with a team GPA above 3.0. Ten Black Bears earned Hockey East All-Academic honors in 2010-11, with Jeff Dimmen and Dan Sullivan sharing the distinction of the "Hockey East Top-Scholar Athlete," while Dimmen and Captain Tanner House received "Distinguished Scholar" Awards by achieving a 3.0 GPA or above in each semester over their four years. With the help of Academic Advisor Cristina Kerluke, Coach Whitehead has raised the bar of academic expectations quite high for his players.
Whitehead graduated from Hamilton College in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in government. He also served as Assistant Captain of the varsity hockey team, and won the Sellers Award for team leadership and inspiration as voted by his teammates. Whitehead played two seasons of professional hockey in Europe before returning to start his career in coaching. Whitehead earned his master's degree in education from the University of Maine in 1992.
Tim and his wife Dena live in Bangor and are the parents of two children, Natalie, 12, and Zachary, 10. Tim and Dena have been very active within the Bangor community. Some of the organizations and activities that they have been involved with include: the 14th Street School PTO, Komen Race for the Cure, the MDA telethon, the Bangor YMCA, ATA of Bangor, Bangor Youth Hockey (BYH), Maine Freeze Youth Hockey and All Souls Congregational Church.
Bob Corkum begins his fourth season as associate head coach of the Black Bears. Corkum has been a valuable addition to the Maine staff, helping the Black Bears excel in numerous areas.
Corkum was named Associate Head Coach by Tim Whitehead on August 22, 2008. He was a four-year letterwinner for the Black Bears and then went on to have a 12-year National Hockey League career.
"Bob Corkum brings valuable experience as a player and coach, and he will be a great addition to our staff," said Whitehead upon his hiring.
Corkum has worked with Maine's power play unit the past few years. The results were dramatic during the 2009–2010 season as the Black Bears led the nation in power play goals and percentage, scoring at a 27.7 percent clip with the man advantage. Yale was second in the nation with a 23.9 success rate on the power play. Corkum also worked with Maine's centers on face-offs, the past two years. Maine has seen a dramatic improvement in its face-off percentage under Corkum's guidance.
Corkum helps with on-ice coaching for the Black Bears, working with player skill development. He also assists in recruiting and video analysis.
During the summer of 2011, Corkum served as head coach of the 2011 U.S. Under-17 Select Team. The team posted a 4-0-0 mark en route to the Five Nations Title which included Czeck, Swiss, Germany and Slovakia.
Corkum came to Maine from the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs of the Eastern Junior Hockey League, where he served as associate head coach from 2006-2008. He was responsible for recruiting players along with working with individuals and small groups in skill development and team systems. The Junior Monarchs were very successful under his guidance. The team finished as Tier III Junior A National Champions in both 2007 and 2008. The Monarchs were Co-EJHL Season Champions in 2008, and finished as EJHL Season Champions and Playoff Champions in 2007.
In recent years, the Black Bears have had a roster full of former NH Monarchs. This season, the Black Bears have eight former NH Monarchs on its roster.
Corkum held various coaching position prior to joining the Maine staff, including USA Hockey Select 16 Coach (2006–08), Assistant Coach with the Portland Junior Pirates (2005–06), Assistant Varsity Hockey Coach at Newburyport HS (2004–05), and Assistant Varsity Hockey Coach at Triton HS (2003–04).
Corkum began his coaching career after a stellar 12-year, 720-game NHL career. He played for the Buffalo Sabres, Atlanta Thrashers, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, Phoenix Coyotes, Philadelphia Flyers and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks during his career. Corkum finished his NHL career with 97 goals, 103 assists for 200 career points. Corkum had his best season in 1993–94 for the Anaheim Ducks where he scored 23 goals and added 28 assists for a career-high 51 points.
Corkum had a four-year career with the Black Bears from 1985-1989, where he played in 159 career games. He scored 56 goals and added 76 assists for 132 career points. He currently ranks 25th on Maine's all-time scoring list.
Corkum was part of Maine's NCAA Tournament teams in 1987, 1988 and 1989, his final three seasons at Maine. He was instrumental in leading Maine to its first pair of Frozen Four appearances in 1988 and 1989. In 1988, Maine finished third in the nation after defeating Minnesota 5-2 in Lake Placid, N.Y., in the consolation game. In 1989, Maine lost to Michigan State 7-4 in St. Paul, Minn., finishing fourth in the nation.
In 1988, Corkum was named Maine's Most Inspirational Player.
Corkum, and his wife, Jessica, have four children: Carley, Kelen, Cain and Koby. They are also proud grandparents. Carley, and her husband, Jason Lovejoy, have a son, Parker Andrew, and reside in Westboro, Mass.
Dan Kerluke begins his seventh season as an assistant coach for the Black Bears and his fourth as an associate head coach. Kerluke played for Maine from 1997-2001 and was a member of the 1999 National Championship team.
Kerluke serves as Maine's recruiting coordinator. He has been instrumental in recruiting some of Maine's top players in recent years. He has made several trips to Sweden and played a key role in recruiting 2010 Hobey Hat Trick selection Gustav Nyquist.
This season, Kerluke will be responsible for coaching the defense.
Kerluke has been intregal in recruiting all four classes on this year's team. He had a hand in recruiting Maine's top line last year which consisted of Tanner House, Gustav Nyquist and Brian Flynn. The trio combined to score 56 goals and add 91 assists for 147 points.
Kerluke's recruiting class in 2008-09 scored the most points in Hockey East and included the top two goal scoring freshmen.
During the 2006–07 season, Kerluke was instrumental in working with the power play unit, which was best in the nation, as the team reached the NCAA Frozen Four. Kerluke served as volunteer assistant coach in the 2004-05 season as the Black Bears advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four in Milwaukee. He worked extensively with game video and also worked with the forwards.
Prior to Maine, Kerluke spent three seasons as Head Coach of the Bangor High School boy's ice hockey team. He led the team to the playoffs all three seasons, and in the 2004-05 season set numerous school records, including most wins and their first-ever regular season championship. Following Maine, he spent the 2001-02 season playing in the WCHL. He played in 14 games with the Idaho Steelheads and then went on to play in 49 games with the Fresno Falcons as they won the WCHL Championship.
In four seasons with the Black Bears, Kerluke played in 152 games. He scored 54 goals, including 10 game-winners, and added 54 assists for 108 total points. As a senior in 2000-01, he posted nine goals and nine assists in 39 games played. In 1999-2000, he played in 39 games and had 12 goals and 14 assists. Kerluke earned Hockey East Academic Team honors and Maine Scholar Athlete honors. He was named Hockey East Player of the Week on March 6 after scoring three straight goals in a 3-2 win at Providence. During the 1998-99 season, he played in 41 games with 23 goals and 19 assists for 42 points. He tallied points in all four NCAA Tournament games, including an assist in the National Championship game. As a freshman, he scored 10 goals and had 12 assists in 33 games played.
A native of Brampton, Ontario, Kerluke is a 2001 graduate of the University of Maine with a degree in new media. Kerluke resides in Hermon with his wife, Cristina, who works for the Maine Athletic Department in Academic Support. The couple has a daughter, Lilliana, born on April 28, 2010.
David Alexander begins his fourth season as volunteer assistant coach with the Black Bears. Alexander will work primarily with Maine's goaltenders.
Last season, he worked with rookie netminders Dan Sullivan and Martin Ouellette who combined to play 73.2 percent of Maine's minutes in goal last season. Sullivan set a school record when he posted a 202:48 shutout streak. He was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. During the season, he picked up Hockey East Player of the Week, Rookie of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week honors. Ouellette was named Hockey East Rookie of the Month and also Rookie of the Week honors during the season.
Alexander worked with rookie Scott Darling in 2008-09, who posted a 10-14-3 record with a 2.76 GAA and a .895 save percentage. He was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week three times and also earned Hockey East Rookie of the Month honors.
Alexander is a member of hockey Canada's Under 17 Team Atlantic coaching staff that will attend the 2010 World Under 17 hockey championships.
Prior to Maine, Alexander has worked with the goaltenders of the Fredericton Midget AAA Canadiens, the Miramichi Timberwolves (MJAHL) and the St. Thomas Tommies (CIS). A number of goaltenders with these teams have not only advanced their hockey careers, but also established themselves as standouts with their respective clubs.
Clients under his watch have played Junior A, Major Junior, and for Canadian Universities. Furthermore, a number of his goaltenders have attended various National and International events. He has also coached players who have competed in the Canada Winter games, the World Under 17 Championships, the World Under 18 Championships, and tryout camps for the Canadian World Junior Team. In addition, he continues to work with a number of NHL draft picks.
He also works with Hockey New Brunswick as a goaltending consultant to all of HNB's high performance programs. He is a member of the highly recognized Goaltending Consultant Group. He is the Director of Goaltending Development with Alexander Goaltending.
A native of Moncton, New Brunswick, he is a 2006 graduate of the University of New Brunswick where he obtained his bachelor's degree in arts and education.
Alexander and his wife, Gillyon, reside in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.