By Dan Guttenplan
---- — Bob Corkum will not be working his “dream job” this winter, but he certainly landed on his feet.
Just a few days after learning he would not be retained as a member of the University of Maine hockey coaching staff, Corkum was hired last week to work in the New York Islanders organization’s player development office. Former University of Maine goaltender Garth Snow, who is the general manager for the Islanders, provided Corkum, a Triton Regional High hockey legend, with an opportunity to carve out a new career path in the NHL.
“Obviously, he has an impressive resume as player in the NHL and as a college hockey coach. He had a great pro career and he had success at the college level. He has a wealth of knowledge. He’s a good addition to our staff,” Snow said on the Islanders’ website last week.
Corkum will be the fifth former Black Bear to join the Islanders’ organization.
In addition to Snow, Jack Capuano is the head coach of the Islanders, Mike Dunham is the Islanders’ goalie coach and 1992 Hobey Baker Award winner Scott Pellerin is the head coach of the Islanders’ American Hockey League franchise in Bridgeport, Conn.
“You can never have enough Maine Black Bears,” said Snow.
Snow said Corkum will spend a lot of time with the younger players in the Islanders’ organization “helping them get to the NHL.”
“They may need a little extra guidance in how to find their games. He’ll be very helpful to those players,” said Snow. “He will also track the players we’ve drafted (when they go off to) college or Major Junior and spend some time with them. He will have a wide range of duties that he’ll fulfill within the organization.”
Snow would not disclose the terms of Corkum’s contract.
The 45-year-old Corkum, a native of Salisbury, was a senior at Maine when Snow was a freshman.
“I had a lot of respect for the way he played the game, and he’s a quality person,” said Snow.
Corkum played 159 games at Maine from 1985 to ’89 and had 132 career points (56 goals, 76 assists) before beginning his pro career. He went on to play in 720 NHL games for seven teams over 12 years and notched 200 points (97 goals, 103 assists). He was a physical defensive specialist/penalty killer who was regarded as one of the NHL’s best faceoff men.
He began his coaching career as an assistant at Triton in 2003 and eventually served as the associate head coach of the highly-successful New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in the Eastern Junior Hockey League from 2006 to ’08.
He was named the associate head coach at the University of Maine on Aug. 22, 2008, and served in that capacity under head coach Tim Whitehead. Whitehead was fired in April with one year remaining on his contract, and Corkum was appointed interim head coach.
At the time, Corkum told The Daily News he was hopeful that the interim tag would be removed, and he’d earn the job as the next head coach.
“It’s just a tag; there’s a lot going on that we had to analyze last week, especially in terms of keeping the recruits on board and assuring them things are going to be OK,” said Corkum. “Obviously, coaching at your alma mater, I can’t think of anything that is more exciting, but at this point the university is going through the search process, and I am going to have to apply like everyone else. At the end of the process, they’ll hire a candidate.”
Corkum was a finalist for Whitehead’s job, but Dennis “Red” Gendron was hired. Gendron elected to pass over Corkum for an assistant’s job, hiring former Maine assistant Jay Leach and former Black Bear and NHL player Ben Guite.
Corkum will be the head coach for the United States Under-18 Select team at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia from Aug. 6 to 10. He had previously been an assistant for the U-18 Selects. As the head coach of the U.S. Under-17 team, he led them to a 4-0 record and the title in the Five National Tournament.