Aidan Carney is following in his father’s footsteps.
His father, Keith Carney, was a two-time All-American defenseman at the University of Maine, where he amassed 126 points on 14 goals and 112 assists in his three years for the Black Bears.
He went on to appear in 1,018 career NHL regular season games for six teams, scoring 45 goals and 183 assists during that time.
Aidan Carney joined the men’s hockey team this season as a non-scholarship walk-on player who will be the tallest forward on the UMaine roster at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds. His father’s legacy in Orono is a major reason Carney, who turns 21 on Thursday, wanted to come to UMaine.
“My dad spoke very highly of it … the tradition, the history and stuff like that,” Carney said.
He spent a few weeks working out with the team over the summer and impressed his future teammates, according to UMaine head coach Ben Barr, who offered him the walk-on opportunity.
“The guys liked him. He does everything the right way,” Barr said. “He’ll have a chance to find a niche for himself.”
Carney is a native of Paradise Valley, Arizona, and spent last season in the North American Hockey League with two teams, the Lone Star Brahmas and the Amarillo Wranglers.
In 51 games, he tallied six goals and 13 assists for 19 points.
Barr called Carney a big power forward.
“He skates pretty well for a big kid and he showed up in great shape,” Barr said. “He works hard and he’s a humble kid. He’s a depth guy who could fill a fourth line role by being physical, killing penalties and doing all the little things.”
His father’s 112 career assists are the most for a UMaine defenseman and his 49 assists and 56 points during the 1990-91 campaign are single season marks for a UMaine defenseman.
Keith Carney, a former U.S. Olympian, was inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.
The former Buffalo Sabres fourth-round draft pick (76th overall) also appeared in 91 NHL playoff games and registered three goals and 19 assists.
The Black Bears went 97-34-4 during Keith Carney’s three seasons and made it to the NCAA Tournament all three seasons, including two Frozen Four appearances.
“I play a physical game. I use my body. I try to be good, defensively,” said Aidan Carney. “I want to try to [crack] the lineup and do whatever I can to get the program back to the level it was when my dad played here.”
UMaine hasn’t earned an NCAA Tournament berth since the 2011-12 season. That was also the last time the program reached the Hockey East semifinals.
Carney said he really likes the coaching staff and is confident they will continue to “bring in the right pieces” to restore the program to prominence.