Former St. Dom’s assistant coach Dan D’Auteuil will return to the bench next season as the successor to head coach Bob Parker. Submitted photo

St. Dominic Academy athletic director J.P. Yorkey wasn’t in a hurry to find a new boys hockey coach after Bob Parker stepped down last month, nor was he chained to finding somebody with a recent connection to the program.

But Dan D’Auteuil, who was announced as the new varsity coach on Wednesday, was the “full package,” according to Yorkey.

The position was only posted for two weeks before D’Auteuil and St. Dom’s came to an agreement, but Yorkey said finding a new coach was less about doing it quickly and more about hiring “the right guy.”

“I think that any time you can fill a position prior to the summer portion, that’s helpful. Especially in those sports where you’re active in the summer,” Yorkey said. “But at the same point in time, it’s a big hire, and we’re willing to take whatever time was necessary to hire the right guy, it just so happened that we were able to be successful in identifying that candidate and getting it done in a reasonable amount of time.”

D’Auteuil, who not only was an assistant to Parker from 2015-18 but is also a 1986 graduate of St. Dom’s and a former state champion hockey player, has been wanting to coach his alma mater “for as long as I can remember.”

The new coach said he bleeds the black and white of St. Dom’s.

D’Auteuil played under the late Bob Boucher, from whom he said he learned about “the preparedness” of coaching hockey.

“Having a plan, and always being ready for every practice, every game, and having a plan throughout for your whole season,” D’Auteuil said. “Bobby was always a very-well-planned-out practice, very-planned-out coaching plan for the games, and just had everything kind of in place with a lot of attention to detail. And I’ve tried to do that same thing.”

Yorkey said D’Auteuil’s outright coaching experience (St. Dom’s varsity assistant, middle school head coach, and Maine Gladiators coach) made him a great candidate — one who was at the top of the hiring team’s short list — but being a St. Dom’s alum was “huge.”

“You know, St. Dom’s has, I’m a little biased, but arguably the best high school hockey tradition in Maine, certainly with the 26 state championships and the three New England championships,” Yorkey said. “And certainly with Dan having been a part of that as an alum and playing on a state championship team, that is an experience that helps him to relate to our kids and to our parents and to alums. Which, there’s value in that.”

Being a part of the St. Dom’s tradition means D’Auteuil takes the job knowing the expectations that come with the position, though he said his wife made sure to remind him in case he had forgotten.

“It puts a lot of pressure on me. The first thing my wife said to me, she said, ‘You know, you’re doomed to fail just because you’re coming in right after a state championship,'” D’Auteuil said. “But I’ve done a lot of things that have a lot of pressure, and I know that I’m coming into a situation that has a lot of tradition, a lot of hockey richness, a lot of great coaches ahead of me.

“But I’m ready for the challenge, and I think I can do the job, and I know there’s a lot of talent left at that school, and so I think next year could be another good season for that team.”

Parker said he sent a congratulatory text to his former assistant after hearing he got the head coach job.

“He is going to have to work hard, just like any coach,” Parker said. “I know Dan will put in the work, and I wish him the best of luck.”

D’Auteuil said that while working under Parker he learned just how long the season really is, and that things can change from the beginning of the season to the end. He said the Saints experienced that last year during his year off, with the early bumps in the road making way for a championship run.

He also said that his year away gave him a chance to see the game from the fans’ and parents’ point of view.

“I saw what the parents are seeing it from a different set of eyes, and a different perspective from what you see as a coach on the bench,” D’Auteuil said.

He doesn’t have a coaching staff in place yet, but D’Auteuil said he has been in contact with Parker’s two assistants last year — Richard Paradis and Connor Anthoine — and that they were still trying to decompress from this past season.

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