Then-associate head coach Ben Guite (right) works with University of Maine hockey players during a practice at Alfond Arena in Orono in 2019. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine athletics

Ben Guite hadn’t planned on leaving the Maine Mariners, where he just finished his first season as the head coach of the ECHL team.

But after Jamie Dumont stepped down as the head men’s hockey coach at NCAA Division III Bowdoin College, several Bowdoin alumni reached out to him to see if he was interested in the job.

“I know the lifestyle of a pro coach and a college coach, especially at the Division III level. And for [my] family, I felt I at least wanted to look into it,” said Guite, who was named the 10th head coach in Bowdoin College hockey history on Monday.

“From there, the connection was made with [Bowdoin athletic director] Tim Ryan. Tim and I had a good conversation. We talked about my philosophy and what they were looking for from their program,” Guite said.

“I got on campus, met a few of the players and the faculty and the staff, and we just hit it off.”

The 43-year-old Montreal native is replacing Jamie Dumont, who stepped down after six years for personal reasons. While Guite would not disclose the terms of his three-year contract with Bowdoin, it is believed to be worth at least $100,000 per year — more than he was making with the Mariners.

Dumont, a Lewiston native, compiled a regular season record of 42-70-8 during his five seasons at Bowdoin; COVID-19 canceled the 2020-21 season. The Polar Bears were 29-55-6 in NESCAC.

“I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think I could win. I love to develop players and people and, at the same time, I love to compete and win. That’s part of the process,” Guite said.

Dumont replaced Terry Meagher in 2016 and previously served two stints as an assistant at Bowdoin including the last one from 2011-16.

Meagher retired after registering an overall record of 529-245-54 in his 33 seasons behind the Bowdoin bench.

“My first priority is to establish a [winning] culture I want our team to have,” Guite said. “And build a real good recruiting class that will be coming in for 2023-24.”

The former UMaine player and eight-year Black Bear assistant coach is confident he can be a successful recruiter because of the selling points he has at his disposal.

“We have a beautiful hockey rink,” said Guite, referring to the 13-year-old Sidney J. Watson Arena. “The campus is phenomenal. And we have one of the best academic institutions in the world. There’s a lot going on for the athletic programs at Bowdoin and I’m really excited to come on board at this time.”

Ryan said in a press release that “Ben brings an extensive hockey playing and coaching background to Bowdoin and I am excited for our players, alumni and community members to get to know him as the thoughtful and caring person he truly is. That defines him much more than his considerable hockey accomplishments.”

Guite guided the Mariners to their first ECHL playoff berth this past season. They had 33 wins, 31 losses, five overtime losses and three shootout losses during the regular season and lost their first-round playoff series to Reading in six games.

Guite had a 911-game pro career, including 184 NHL games, after playing four seasons at UMaine in which he notched 47 goals and 49 assists in 146 games. He helped the Black Bears win the NCAA title in 1989-99.

He said the toughest part of his decision was leaving the Mariners, who are a minor league team affiliated with the NHL’s Boston Bruins.

“That was gut-wrenching. I loved every aspect of coaching there. The players were phenomenal, and the staff and the Bruins treated us like gold,” Guite said.

“But this is an opportunity to coach at a really high level and give some stability to my family, which is worth its weight in gold,” he added.

Guite and wife Kristen have two sons, Patrick and Max, and they live in Bangor.