Derek Clancey may end his playing career and go into coaching. J.P. O'Connor is waiting for the phone to ring. Nelson Burton will stay right here and keep running his various hockey programs. Michael Mudd already has found a new job, a new team and moved to Ohio.
The hockey futures for most of those associated with the Chesapeake Icebreakers the past two seasons are up in the air. The East Coast Hockey League franchise has suspended operations for one year and people are beginning to move on, with the first step for many coming in today's dispersal draft.
The draft, which will be held right after an expansion draft for new ECHL franchises Trenton and Arkansas, also will include players from the Columbus Chill and Miami Matadors.
Clancey, who combined with Denny Felsner to give Chesapeake one of the best one-two scoring punches in the league, said he's looking hard at moving on to coaching. He recently celebrated his 30th birthday and, despite having a strong season, might take his leadership role off the ice to behind the bench.
"I've been pursuing three or four coaching jobs, both as head guy or assistant," Clancey said from his home in Columbus, Ohio. "I think there's a strong possibility that I'll end up in the ECHL."
O'Connor, 25, is waiting on the dispersal draft. He said this is a difficult situation for players, as they are in limbo with training camp a little more than two months away.
"I'm going to wait and see what happens with the dispersal draft," O'Connor said from his home in Montreal. "You don't have much of a choice. That's the only thing you can do right now. When you don't know where you're going to go and training camp is right around the corner, the summer is excruciatingly long."
League and team sources said that Coach Chris Nilan, who guided the team to the playoffs in each of its two seasons, has interviewed for other jobs in the ECHL. Nilan, a longtime NHL player, was not available to comment.
Mudd, the team's general manager and director of hockey operations, was hired as the assistant general manager of the Cleveland Lumberjacks of the International Hockey League.
Mudd lived in the Washington area for about four years. He worked with team owner Michael A. Caggiano's Baltimore Bandits in the American Hockey League for parts of two seasons before coming to Upper Marlboro when the Icebreakers started play in 1997.
In addition, Mudd's wife has worked in Washington during much of that time. Mudd said he'll miss the area and the team.
"The players really managed to play for one another and play as a team," Mudd said. "I'd love to see another team here for the loyal fans we had in Maryland. I think they deserve to have another franchise, but I think a lot of things would have to fall into place for it to possibly work."
Burton, an assistant to Nilan, still lives in the area and will continue to work with his hockey schools and hockey programs. Burton played in several minor leagues from 1974 until his retirement after the 1983-84 season. He briefly made the NHL, playing eight games with the Washington Capitals.
Burton got involved in teaching and coaching during the late 1980s and has built an instructional program called Nelson Hockey in Laurel into a very successful business working with kids in the Baltimore-Washington area. He'll enjoy the memories of his final Icebreakers team.
"They were just a great bunch of guys," Burton said.
CAPTION: Ex-Icebreakers player-coach Derek Clancey has "three or four" coaching job leads.