Dartmouth welcomes new men’s hockey coach at a distance

  • Reid Cashman

  • Quinnipiac University assistant men's hockey coach Reid Cashman talks to his players in an undated photograph. Cashman was introduced as the new head coach of the Dartmouth College men's hockey program during an online news conference on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Courtesy Dartmouth sports information—© John Hassett 2014

  • Quinnipiac University assistant men's hockey coach Reid Cashman greets fans in an undated photograph. Cashman was introduced as the new head coach of the Dartmouth College men's hockey program during an online news conference on Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Courtesy Dartmouth sports information—© Copyright John Hassett...

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/2/2020 9:59:30 PM
Modified: 6/2/2020 9:59:24 PM

HANOVER — Reid Cashman has already bought into two of the expectations for a Dartmouth College coach, something he revealed with an aside toward the end of Tuesday’s Zoom news conference announcing his imminent arrival to oversee the Big Green men’s hockey program.

Once he accepted the offer to come north, Cashman — a second-year assistant coach with the NHL’s Washington Capitals and a former All-American defenseman at Quinnipiac University — went to one of his bosses to relay the news. Dick Patrick is a longtime executive with the Caps, but he was a Dartmouth graduate long before that.

“He was very supportive, wanting me to stay in Washington with the organization, but I think he was pretty excited about me coming to Dartmouth,” Cashman said. “He’s a proud alum. The biggest thing was he wants us to beat Princeton because his son went to Princeton. And then I asked him, ‘When could we get a donation?’ ”

With that, the tenure of Dartmouth’s 22nd men’s hockey coach got underway. Sort of.

The NHL’s coronavirus-fueled hiatus means Cashman’s hockey attention will be split for the time being. The 37-year-old, who’s been an assistant coach at the college and pro levels the last nine years, plans to do Big Green work as retiring coach Bob Gaudet’s term ends later this month. Should the NHL resume its season, he’ll return to the District and handle those responsibilities until the Caps’ campaign closes before focusing solely on his upcoming tasks.

“It wasn’t something I was looking for; it wasn’t something that Mac (Washington general manager Brian MacLelland) and Todd (head coach Todd Reirden) were asking me to get out of town for,” Cashman said. “Simply, I’ve had success when I’ve moved on when the right opportunity has come about. I try to do the right things; I’m all in on my current job, whatever job that is, and then I’ve made moves when the opportunities have come to me.

“I saw a tweet that Coach Gaudet was retiring. And I just followed up on it.”

Former Big Green goaltender-turned-coach Gaudet spent 23 years at Dartmouth’s helm, winning a program-record 331 games. Last year’s squad went 13-14-4 overall and 10-10-2 in ECAC Hockey before a first-round conference tournament upset loss to Princeton.

Dartmouth graduated nine players from that roster and also lost sophomore leading scorer Drew O’Connor to a pro contract. Cashman admitted he isn’t fully versed on what Gaudet is leaving in the cupboard, but he doesn’t believe it’s bare.

“Coach Gaudet and his staff have this program in a really good place,” Cashman said. “I don’t need to retool, rehaul, blow this thing up. We’re just looking to maximize the abilities that we have. It’s going to be a fresh start for all of those players. There are 28 guys who will have a fresh set of eye son them.”

Just who owns those eyes is up in the air. Athletic director Harry Sheehy said the worst thing to do to a new coach is to tell him who his assistants are going to be. Current assistants David Lassonde, John Rose and Ben Lovejoy are interested in staying, he noted, but all will have to go through the interview process as Cashman assembles a staff.

“Reid is responsible for our program right now, so what I want for Reid is the best possible staff that, in his judgment, he can put together,” Sheehy said. “We’re going to talk to everybody; Reid is going to talk to everybody. … I’m happy to aid him in any way possible, but this is Reid’s staff. These guys aren’t coming to sit in my office every day.”

The Dartmouth job makes sense for family reasons as well, Cashman said. His wife, Stefanie, is a Granite State native. His family, which includes two daughters (3-year-old Maggie and newborn Sophia), summers in Windham.

In that respect, Cashman is similar to the man he succeeds. Gaudet left Brown University to take the Dartmouth job at age 38, with a young family tow.

“I hope it lasts 23 years,” Gaudet said in a phone interview. “It’s a new era, and I’ll enjoy watching the program grow over the next number of years.”

Greg Fennell can be reached at gfennell@vnews.com or 603-727-3226.

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