Bob Corkum Credit: Courtesy of USA Hockey

Former University of Maine hockey standout and associate head coach Bob Corkum has resigned as the coach of the United States women’s national hockey team.

Corkum on Saturday told the Associated Press that he was not comfortable with COVID-19 protocols.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but one I am at peace with. The team will not miss a beat. They are in great hands,” Corkum said, referring to assistant coach Joel Johnson, who will take over as the head coach, and the rest of the staff.

The 53-year-old Corkum would not go into specifics about his decision.

The U.S. women’s national team is in Maine where on Saturday it began preparing for the World Championships scheduled May 6-16 in Nova Scotia.

“Bob has put his heart and soul into continuing to build on the legacy of our women’s national team program over the past three seasons and we’re grateful for all he did,” said Katie Million, USA Hockey’s director of women’s national team programs.

“While he is stepping away, he’ll always be a big part of the USA Hockey family and we’ll certainly miss him,” Million added.

Corkum in 2019 guided the U.S. women to their fifth consecutive world championship. The team was undefeated and outscored its opponents 41-5. Last year’s World Championship tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Corkum spent five seasons as an associate head coach under Tim Whitehead at UMaine before Whitehead was fired. He was named the interim head coach until the late Red Gendron was named the head coach in 2013.

Corkum went on to become an assistant coach with the NHL’s New York Islanders from 2014-17.

As a player, Corkum collected 56 goals and 76 assists during his four-year career at UMaine. He played 720 games in the NHL where he amassed 97 goals and 103 assists and earned the reputation as one of the league’s best face-off men.

Corkum’s first international tournament as head coach with the national team was the 2018 Four Nations Cup in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The U.S. women went undefeated and notched their fourth straight tournament title.

He had previously been an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team and was the head coach of a U.S. men’s selects team that finished second in 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia.