Rick Filighera, the first-year coach of University of Maine women’s hockey team, has been hitting the recruiting trail in recent weeks and said he is looking to bring in 18 players for next year’s team.
This is the first year of varsity women’s hockey at Maine, which is without scholarships. Next year, Maine will have four scholarships and will be playing in the ECAC Division I league.
Maine, which is in the non-scholarship ECAC Alliance this season, will receive five additional scholarships in each of the next two seasons and four the following year.
“I’m looking to spread out our scholarship money across the team next season,” said Filighera. “I want to bring in 10 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies. I want to have some good depth. If I bring in more, I might put myself in a bad situation. I might have to cut players down the road and I don’t want to do that.
“The people who come to Maine, I want them to be good enough to play Division I for four years and then I’ll surround them with the next five best players with scholarships [the following year],” said Filighera. “Surrounding them with very, very good players would make a good base for us.”
However, Filighera said this philosophy is somewhat idealistic.
“If there is a top-notch player out there worthy of a full scholarship and she wants to come to Maine, I can’t pass her up,” said Filighera. “Hopefully, the girls will look at the academics first and make sure the school has what they want. They won’t just look at the hockey.”
He said he gets daily phone calls, E-mails and faxes from women interested in attending Maine.
“The hard part is the Catch-22 when you’re dealing with borderline D1-D3 players. Yeah, maybe they could make the team next year but, down the road, it’s just not going to happen,” said Filighera. “If they’re borderline and they come, they’ll probably be walk-ons. Hopefully, they’ll blossom and be able to play here for four years. But I don’t want to be giving them guarantees by saying `Come and you can play.’ It’s not fair.”
With Cindy Blodgett sidelined for Thursday’s game at Towson, sophomore Amy Vachon will handle the point guard duties for UMaine.
Vachon, usually Maine’s first guard off the bench, will make her second straight start. She often runs the offense even with Blodgett on the floor, so coach Joanne Palombo-McCallie doesn’t expect any problems.