Adam Nicholas’ days of playing hockey ended when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon while he was at Elmira College in New York. Unwilling to leave the game, Nicholas has been a skating instructor for hockey players of all levels.

Now, Nicholas has the opportunity to mold his own team. Nicholas will take over as head coach of the Falmouth boys’ hockey team, replacing Scott Rousseau, who resigned after the 2009-2010 season.

“I really enjoy doing this,” said Nicholas, a skating instructor who has worked with the Lewiston Maineiacs and with area high school, college and professional hockey players.

“I worked with (former NHLer and skating instructor) Graeme Townshend, who showed me how to think, how to be innovative and how to succeed. doing that, I found a joy with it, and I started to build it up.”

Nicholas is a Maine native who graduated from Thornton Academy in 2004, and currently runs Stride Envy Skating, which runs clinics, provides private coaching and day camps for hockey players. He was one of seven applicants for the Falmouth job.

“He’s about life lessons, and I think one of the tough things about hockey is that you have varying ability levels,” Falmouth Athletic Director Todd Livingston said. “But when you look at the top line through the bottom lines, he focuses on every individual and encourages them to be the best he can be.”

Falmouth went 13-5-2 last season and reached the Western Class A semifinals. In 13 years under Rousseau at the Class A and Class B levels, the Yachtsmen reached the regional semifinal in every season and reached the regional championship game four times, most recently in 2009.

“At Falmouth, I have an opportunity to take a program under my wing and get the program over the hump,” Nicholas said. “I see a good middle school program and I want to build that up and create a good foundation to feed into the high school program. We lost a lot of seniors from last year but that doesn’t faze me at all.”

At 25, Nicholas is one of the state’s youngest coaches. This is his first head coaching position in high school hockey.

“I don’t know if age will be an advantage or a disadvantage,” Nicholas said. “I might have to be stern right away, and I have to find a medium. I have to be a great manager and I can’t favor anyone on the team.

“I’m the new guy. I took over for someone who was here for 13 years. The adversity I face is, ‘Is he going to win? Is he going to get us over the hump?’ A lot of people don’t like change, and the challenge will be that change is good.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: [email protected]