University of Maine freshman hockey coach Ben Barr wants his employees to maximize their potential.
He believes that one way to do that is by reducing their responsibilities and workload.
I don’t want people to have to wear six or seven different hats, Barr said.
To that end, UMaine hired Matthew Vanden Berg as director of player development.
It is a volunteer position and he will not be on the ice because Division I teams are only allowed to have one volunteer assistant coach with responsibilities on the ice. Former UMaine winger Danny Perez was recently hired as a volunteer assistant.
Barr explained that Vanden Berg will have a number of responsibilities, including acting as a video coordinator and statistical analyst.
That was the role of Sean Michael Walsh, son of the late legendary UMaine head coach, Shawn Walsh. Sean Michael Walsh left last summer to become an assistant coach with the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League.
Vanden Berg will also assist Paul Culina in his duties as director of hockey operations. Culina is also the team’s athletic trainer.
Were the only program in Hockey East that doesn’t have a full-time director of hockey operations, said Barr, who wants Culina to devote herself to being an athletic trainer without the added responsibilities of the director of hockey operations.
Vanden Berg will also help with strength and conditioning.
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Vanden Berg has been a coach and scout for the past nine years and has served in player development. He has coached at the AAA national level of midgets for organizations such as Team Carolina, the Milwaukee Jr Admirals and, most recently, the Phoenix Jr Coyotes before joining UMaine.
He was a scout for the USHL’s Fargo Force and the NAHL’s Maryland Blackbears.
His specialty is developing players on and off the ice, and he has focused on tailoring specific athletics and skills training to student athletes of all ages.
He has served as a professional player development video coach working with players of all skill levels, including NHL, AHL, NCAA and Midget.
Vanden Berg received his master’s degree in Sports Industry Business from Northeastern University, an MBA from Marquette University, and is currently working on his PhD in Organizational Leadership from Creighton University.
Barr is thrilled to have him on board.
He is very, very knowledgeable and he is a workaholic. He wants to be a college coach, Barr said.
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