Former Maineiacs coach to lead NYA

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It didn’t take long for former Lewiston Maineiacs coach and GM Ed Harding to find another job in hockey.

And he didn’t have to go far to find it.

Harding, of Gray, a former coach at Greely and at the University of Southern Maine in addition to his more than six years of service to the Maineiacs, is the new director of hockey and head coach at North Yarmouth Academy, replacing his friend, Portland Pirates hall of famer Kent Hulst.

“When the opening occured, I talked to a number of people about it,” Harding said. “I also had a meeting with the school, when I interviewed. I wanted to know how serious they were about becoming a high-powered New England prep school team.”

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The answer, it appears, was the right one for Harding, and likewise Harding’s answers fit the school’s profile.

“We feel that his experience and talents will help us advance our program and more importantly, develop the character and skills of the players in our program,” NYA Headmaster Peter Mertz said in a news release.

“The premise is the same (as it was in Lewiston),” Harding said. “You look for guys for the program who have a high level of commitment to the sport, but also, where there are strong academics involved here, you look to create a family-type atmosphere. The bottom line is, we’ll be looking for some very, very talented student-athletes from Maine who want to play at the prep school level and play a prep school schedule. We’ll mix them in with some talented players from our of state and internationally.”

Harding’s last major hockey gig was with the Maineiacs. He was one of the team’s original assistant coaches under Mario Durocher in the inaugural 2003-04 campaign and remained on with Clem Jodoin during his three years with the club. He took over as head coach and GM for the 2007-08 season, and lasted a year and a half before being replaced as GM by Roger Shannon and as head coach by Don MacAdam in January of 2009.

Before that, Harding had coaching stops with the Tulsa Crude of the USHL, the Flagstaff Mountaineers of the WSJHL, the Arkansas Riverblades of the ECHL as well as at USM and at Greely High School.

Harding’s playing experience was with the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL and the Maine Mariners in 1988-89, and at USM from 1985 to 1987.

“It’s almost like this has come full circle,” Harding said. “From coaching at Greely, to other places all across the country and now back to a place not very far from home. I certainly wouldn’t mind picking up and leaving for a job like this, but the fact that it’s right here is even better.”

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