The University of Maine Black Bears will meet Quinnipiac Saturday afternoon in New Hampshire for a closed door scrimmage, the first contest under first-year head coach Ben Barr.

Barr, who took over the program after the passing of Red Gendron during the summer, is still settling into the area having just moved to central Maine at the end of July.

"There's so much more up here than I ever imagined," said the new head coach. "I was blown away by how beautiful the area is and how friendly the people are."

With his team ready for their first on-ice test, Barr knows the Black Bears will have their hands full versus Quinnipiac, who enters the season ranked 9th in the national college hockey poll.

"I'm excited to see where we stack up against a team that is perennially a really good team," added Barr.

With expectations around the conference low for the Black Bears heading into the 2021-22 season, (Maine was picked 10th out of 11 teams in the Hockey East Preseason Coaches Poll) Barr knows that doesn't mean the Maine faithful will be any less passionate about their team.

"It definitely brings a greater sense of responsibility," Barr said when talking about having his first head coaching job come at a school with such a rich program history.

"That comes with a lot of responsibility and I feel a duty to make sure we're doing everything we can to give the school, the community and the alums the best experience and the best product we can on the ice."

Following Saturday's exhibition vs. Quinnipiac, Maine opens the regular season at the University of Nebraska at Omaha on Oct. 8-9, an NCAA Tournament team last year.

The Black Bears' first games at The Alfond are scheduled for Oct. 22-23 when Maine hosts Sacred Heart.

You can catch the rest of our conversation with the coach from his appearance on The Drive on Thursday. Barr will join the show every Tuesday during the hockey season.


More From 92.9 The Ticket