St. Lawrence University head men's hockey coach Joe Marsh said in a phone interview Thursday that he will not return to coach the team this season. Further, he added that he will decide in the off-season if we he will return for a 27th season behind the bench.
"I'm going to sit down and see where this is going to go long-term," Marsh said. "I think we'll make that decision after the season. I'm kind of like an old Chevy — still runs, but needs a lot of maintenance in the garage."
Marsh decided in October to take an indefinite medical leave from coaching, handing the team over to associate head coach Mike Hurlbut and assistant Greg Carvel. Marsh continues to battle an arthritic condition as well as medical procedures for a constricted esophagus. He missed four games and several practices last season dealing with both.
"It's not like I'm in dire straits," he said. "There's people dealing with a lot more issues than I am. As far as me coming back this year, that's really not going to happen."
He travels to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston every four-to-five weeks for various "maintenance" procedures. However, he said he doesn't expect to travel there that frequently over the next year, making a return to coaching possible.
"The situation is kind of where I thought it would be but didn't want it to be," Marsh said. "The decision to take the medical leave was the right one. While I may have to go through a procedure periodically, it's all maintenance. I don't want to make it sound like I'm in dire straits."
Marsh continues to speak with Hurlbut and Carvel several times per week and has attended a few home games and practices as a spectator.
"They're running things and doing a real good job," Marsh said. "It's like watching a kid grow up when you haven't seen them in a while. There are some really good things happening."