Union College assistant coach Joe Dumais and UMass Lowell assistant Cam Ellsworth are reportedly among four to six candidates being strongly considered for the head coaching position at University of New England, a Division III school in Biddeford, Maine.
Multiple sources have confirmed to SB Nation the two Division I assistants are candidates for the opening that became available after Brad Holt was relieved of his duties earlier this spring.
Holt, a 1979 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, was the only coach in the school's six years of playing varsity hockey at the NCAA Division III level. UNE competes in the ECAC East with perennial Division III powers such as Norwich and Babson.
First year UNE Director of Athletics Jack McDonald, who recently retired from a similar post at Quinnipiac, is confident the school is in position to hire an elite coach to guide its men's hockey program.
"We're extremely pleased with the outstanding candidates who have applied," said McDonald.
McDonald, a former chair of the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Committee, said he expects to have a new coach in place by the end of next week.
"We're finishing up the search process this week. We have had tremendous interest from all levels of NCAA hockey, head coaches and assistants. We have four to six candidates we're talking with" McDonald explained.
Dumais, an Auburn, Maine native, has geographical ties to the area. Dumais, known as one of the best and hardest working recruiters in college hockey, played at Quinnipiac so there is also a familiarity there as well. Prior to Union, Dumais worked as an assistant at UConn.
When reached Monday morning, Union head coach Rick Bennett said he had no comment.
Ellsworth, a 2005 Michigan Tech alum, just completed his fourth season behind the bench at UMass Lowell. River Hawks head coach Norm Bazin couldn't be reached for comment.
There are reportedly other candidates from the Division III level as well including a head coach.
McDonald is excited about the future of the UNE hockey program, one that he sees as having the potential to be one of the premier programs in Division III.
"We have excellent facilities and a beautiful campus on the water to attract top notch student-athletes. We believe it is one of the best hockey facilities in Division III," said McDonald.
"We want our hockey program to be competitive, make NCAA Tournaments and go from there," added McDonald.
With it's location and facilities, UNE could be a terrific job for an up and coming coach to gain experience as a head coach and develop a budding program.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.