ORONO, Maine – University of Maine Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Ben barr announced the hiring of an assistant coach Jason fortier Wednesday July 28. Fortier joins the Black Bears after recently serving as head coach of the Odessa Jackalopes of the North American Hockey League.
“Jason has been a winner in every program he’s worked with,” Barr said. “During my time as a young assistant at Union College, Jason was one of the first junior coaches I met. He was always easy to approach, honest and his players improved tremendously under his guidance. He has won championships in several junior leagues and will be an integral part of our culture. We are extremely fortunate to add Jason to the Black Bear Hockey family. Our student-athletes will benefit immensely from having him as a mentor.
Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Fortier brings 12 years of junior hockey coaching experience to Orono. Prior to joining Odessa, he was General Manager and Head Coach of the Coquitlam Express in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) for the 2019-20 season. His team finished the year 47-9 and won the regular season championship. Fortier’s team were undefeated heading into the division final before the season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m excited to start and thrilled to be a member of the Black Bears program,” said Fortier. “Thanks to Coach Barr for believing in me and giving me the chance to join his team. Coach Barr has had an impressive impact in the programs he has participated in and his record among former players is something that makes it such a great opportunity.I am so proud to be able to train for the University and thank you to Mr. Ken ralph and all the staff who helped make this possible. “
Jason has coached many players who are currently playing in the NHL. Over the past three seasons, Fortier has placed 44 of his players in Division I of college hockey and was named the 2019-20 BCHL Coach of the Year. He won the National Under-18 Championship in Canada, several Junior A League titles and a championship in the prestigious Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In total, Fortier has seven championship rings.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Fortier played junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Junior A level. After junior hockey, he played professional hockey in Europe before playing a season. for the Wichita Thunder in the Central Hockey League. He also played four seasons in the Canadian College Hockey League.
● Eight league / division championships
● Coached many players who played in the NHL
● Over 100 NCAA Div. 1 player engagement
● Finalist of the QMJHL championship and the Memorial Cup
● Ass’t coach on staff when the head coach received the Coach of the Year award from the Canadian Hockey League
● Two level II junior A league championships and national championship finalist
● One national U-18 AAA championship and three U-18 League championships
● Operated the largest NCAA college hockey showcase in Ontario – 24 college coaches (2011-2014)
● Former professional player and owner of the Future Pro hockey group
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