The only Division I men’s hockey team without a head coach is moving closer to changing that distinction.
According to the Marquette (Mich.) Mining Journal, Northern Michigan athletic director Dan Spielman will conduct telephone interviews with three or four remaining candidates during the week of May 20-24, with the hopes of naming a replacement by Memorial Day. The six members of the search committee will also be part of the calls.
The Wildcats have been without a coach since Rick Comley left to take the same position at Michigan State, just following the conclusion of this past season.
The only confirmed candidate is assistant caoch Dave Shyiak, who has continued to recruit after Comley’s departure, and is the current de facto head of the program. Shyiak was a finalist for the Alaska-Anchorage opening last year, before losing out to John Hill.
According to sources, other candidates include Michigan State assistant Dave McAuliffe, and possibly Walt Kyle, who was an assistant to Comley in 1991 and is currently an assistant coach for the NHL’s New York Rangers. Kyle is in limbo at the moment because the Rangers have their own vacancy, but they are expected to name a head coach shortly.
Current Alaska-Fairbanks coach Guy Gadowsky was on Spielman’s contact list, but says he is not in the running for the NMU opening.
“[Northern Michigan] contacted our AD to see if they could get permission to talk to me,” said Gadowsky. “But I’m definitely not looking to leave Fairbanks.”
Union coach Kevin Sneddon was a candidate, but pulled himself out of the running last week.
“At this point in my career I feel it is best for me to remain the head coach of the Union College Hockey program,” Sneddon said. “I have made a commitment to this program for quite some time and I feel that more work needs to be done in order for Union to become a winning program.”
The new coach will have big shoes to fill; Comley, who was also athletic director at one time, is the only coach in the program’s 26-year history, and won a national championship in 1991.
Shyiak played for Comley from 1987-91, and was a senior on the national championship team. He has served as an assistant at NMU for the past seven years.