October 3, 2011 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Marsh Takes Indefinite Leave

CHN Staff Report

CANTON, N.Y. — St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh, who has been behind the Saints' bench since 1985, is taking an indefinite medical leave, he said yesterday.

Last season, Marsh missed time on two different occasions, battling a chronic arthritic condition that makes it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for him to skate or wear a shoe.

Marsh said he hopes to be back soon, but it's possible he won't be.

“What I'm looking to avoid is a continuance of how last year went — was I in or was I out?,” Marsh told the Watertown Daily Times. “Who knows? Maybe I'll come back soon, maybe I'm not coaching again, I don't know. Whatever happens, I want it to be my decision and do it the right way and leave it the right way. I've done this for half my life, so obviously what's left is pretty important to me. ... You have to be in it, day after day and feel it, smell it, taste it and be in it.”

Marsh is 468-399-72 with eight NCAA Tournament appearances in 26 seasons, including the national runner up in 1988 and a Frozen Four bid in 2000.

St. Lawrence lost top assistant Bob Prier to Princeton during the offseason. Prier was being groomed to take Marsh's place one day, but jumped at the chance to be Princeton's head coach instead when Guy Gadowsky departed for Penn State.

The other assistant, former St. Lawrence defenseman Mike Hurlbut was promoted to associate coach, and now will be the interim head coach in Marsh's absence. Greg Carvel, a former St. Lawrence forward who was most recently an NHL assistant coach with Ottawa, was brought in as the new Saints' assistant.

Marsh also said that recent graduate Jared Keller may be brought in to help with recruiting.

“I think we could be pretty good,” Marsh told the Times. “I want the attention on that. (Hurlbut and Carvel) are not novices. Carvel coached in the Stanley Cup Finals. We've got a very experienced coaching staff.”

St. Lawrence captain Jacob Drewiske said the team will be OK.

“The team's in good hands and that starts first and foremost with the two assistants that we have,” Drewiske told the Times. “We have a lot of faith and trust in those guys. We just want (Marsh) to be healthy, and at the same time it inspires us to play harder as a team. Maybe what we do on the ice can help him heal faster somehow, some way.”

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