Will O’Neill and Brian Flynn were named captains of the University of Maine men’s hockey team for the 2011-12 season, the team announced Thursday.

Spencer Abbott and Mike Cornell will be assistant captains.

“To me, it’s just a dream come true,” said O’Neill, a senior-to-be defenseman. “Your whole hockey career you see the captains and you work side by side with them and you pick up the things they talk about, the right things they say.

“I’ve been so lucky to have good captains in my three years here so far, guys like Simon Danis-Pepin and Jeff Marshall, and Tanner House and Jeff Dimmen. They’ve all done incredible jobs and have really helped to get me to this position.”

O’Neill and Flynn replace seniors House and Dimmen. House was a two-year captain while Dimmen was a two-year assistant captain.

This season, junior Gustav Nyquist also served as an assistant captain before signing a contract this past week with the Detroit Red Wings.

“It’s obviously a huge responsibility but it’s a pretty good challenge, and hopefully I’m up for it,” said Flynn, a junior forward. “The coaches and the players had the confidence in me to fill that role.

“(O’Neill is) more of a vocal guy I’m more of a quiet guy in the room, so hopefully we can each play off that. We’ll come to work each day, work hard and the guys will be able to follow our lead.”

Maine Coach Tim Whitehead also announced Thursday that sophomore goalie Shawn Sirman and freshman forward Kelen Corkum will not return next season.

Sirman was 4-2-3 with an .894 save percentage and a 2.77 goals-against average in 12 games this season. In eight games last season, Sirman was 1-6 with an .832 save percentage and a 5.19 goals-against average.

Maine will turn to a two-goalie system next season with Martin Ouellette and Dan Sullivan, and Josh Seeley of Howland will be the third goalie on the roster.

“We have to streamline our goaltending situation,” Whitehead said. “It’s unfortunate for (Sirman), but this is a move we feel is in the team’s best interest. With two goalies, that will help their development and will help the team put (its) best foot forward.”

After delaying entering Maine until fall 2010 because of postconcussion syndrome, a cracked vertebra and broken ribs, Corkum played in five games in his freshman season, registering a shot on goal and two minutes in penalties. His season was cut short by various injuries, including hip and back problems.

“It’s been a four-year battle for him to try to get back into competitive hockey and it’s not for a lack of effort or for courage,” Whitehead said. “Given the number of serious concussions and the complications from the concussions, as well as his back and hips, it was a trickle-down effect that was created over the past four years that did not allow him to play on a consistent basis.

“He, his family and the coaching staff agree this is the best move for Kelen right now, to finish his education and to stay healthy.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be contacted at 791-6415 or at:

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