ORONO — The University of Maine men’s hockey team went on a power play of sorts Tuesday, picking up a $1 million endowment with the intent of doubling the total in the next five years.

Tom and Sally Savage provided the seed money, and challenged former Black Bear players and coaches to match their generosity in a move that could position the hockey team to be competitive, at least financially, for years.

“The power of endowments are widely used across the country,” Athletic Director Karlton Creech said. “This is a very public endowment gift and it lives forever. That’s the strength of endowments. This is a great opportunity to get that tradition started here.”

The money will be used for the basic operations of the hockey team – travel, equipment, coaches’ salaries and recruiting budgets.

The endowment will be administered by the UMaine Foundation, which will disburse 4 to 5 percent of the principal to the team each year and reinvest the rest of the money.

The goal is to build the endowment to $2 million by 2019, but there’s no limit on how much can ultimately be raised.


“It will continue to grow forever and then there’s no cap on the other donations, so anybody can add to the endowment,” Creech said.

Tom Savage is a 1968 graduate of UMaine in economics who worked as a lawyer in Bangor for more than 20 years. Sally Savage, a Belfast native, is an artist and author.

They have a summer home in Searsport and also live the rest of the year in Key Largo, Florida.

“Maine hockey holds a special place in my heart,” Tom Savage said in a university news release. He was a close friend of the former Black Bear coach, Shawn Walsh.

“I will never forget how proud we were when we drove over the bridge in Kittery and saw the ‘1993 National Champions’ sign over 20 years ago, and I still get excited when Alfond Arena is shaking after a big Maine goal. For many of us, this program provides a great sense of pride, knowing that Maine can compete for championships on a national stage.”

Endowments have become common in university athletic departments. Maine Coach Red Gendron noted that at Yale, where he was an assistant before taking the top job in Orono last year, the men’s hockey coach is endowed in the honor of an alumnus, Malcolm G. Chace.

“The pressure’s off the university and the head coach to go out and raise money for operations every year,” Gendron said. “So now when you’re raising money, you’re more concerned with capital improvements and so on. This gift means everything for us.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.