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By Timothy M. Mcdonald, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard men’s hockey assistant coach Nate Leaman is a leading candidate for the head coaching position at New York’s Union College, according to the U.S. Hockey Report, a hockey news website.

Union, one of the 12 Division I hockey schools in the ECAC, has been searching for a new coach since Kevin Sneddon ’92 left in June to become head coach at the University of Vermont.

The school is expected to name a new coach in approximately two weeks.

Harvard head coach Mark Mazzoleni, while acknowledging the speculative nature of the Internet reports, was supportive of the possibility Leaman would take a head coaching job.

“It’s an outstanding opportunity for Nate to interview at Union,” Mazzoleni said. “Him getting an interview really shows the quality of his coaching, and the fact that people are looking at him as head-coaching material.”

Harvard goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris called Leaman “one of the main reasons our team has climbed to the top of both our league and the national rankings.”

“His dedication and attention to detail has served our team well,” Grumet-Morris said.

Union established a search committee under athletic director Val Belmonte shortly after Sneddon’s departure, and on July 17 announced it had narrowed the field to four finalists, all of whom would come in for interviews.

“I was extremely happy with the high number of quality candidates that we had for this position, and I am even more excited by the outstanding group of finalists that will be coming to campus,” Belmonte said in a statement.

Belmonte declined to name those individuals out of respect for “the wishes of the candidates.”

Initial newspaper reports from the Albany, N.Y., area and on U.S. College Hockey On-Line suggested Leaman was not among the four finalists, but his name has been mentioned frequently in recent days.

Leaman has been behind the Harvard bench for four seasons, or since the start of Mazzoleni’s tenure. After then-assistant coach Ron Rolston left in May 2002 to assume a similar position at Boston College, Leaman was named principal assistant and recruiting coordinator.

Along with Rolston, Leaman has attracted top recruiting classes to Cambridge. Last season, Harvard was tied with Boston University for having the highest number of NHL Draft picks of any team in the country.

In addition to his recruiting duties, Leaman was responsible for coaching the Crimson’s forwards during a season in which they finished tied for first in the ECAC in scoring with 4.27 goals per game.

Sneddon, a member of Harvard’s 1989 national championship team and Union’s coach since 1998, said Union would look for “strength of character, and someone with strong experience dealing with the academic side of things” in his successor. Leaman’s coaching experience at Harvard is something Union may be after.

—Staff writer Timothy M. McDonald can be reached at

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