Coach: Shawn Johnson (first year as head coach)
Class: A North
Last year’s results: 8-9-2, lost in regional quarterfinals.
Returning athletes: Seniors — Reed Hopkins (F), Joey Arps (D), Michael Boivin (F), Connor Albison (F); Juniors — Sam McFarlane (D), Mike Crochere (G), Zach Whitney (D), Caleb MacFarland (D), Collin Osborne (F); Sophomores — Tyrell Sousa (F), Duncan Hayes (F), Elijah Bezanson (D), Cooper Swan (F).
Key losses: Dalton Bowie (G), Logan Leadbetter (D), Tyler Dostie (D), Cole Lockhart (F), Avery Pomerleau (F), Riley Dowe (F).
Promising newcomers: Freshmen — Nick Levesque (F), Jacob Godbout (F), Aiden Clark (F), Jacob Pelletier (F), Jakob Varney (F), Matty Shea (G).
What to expect: A longtime assistant coach, Johnson takes over at the helm from Chad Foye, who coached the Rams for 18 years. The new coach has some returning players in now bigger roles, but filling the departures and creating depth will be a challenge. One of the biggest voids is in goal, with Bowie now gone.
Edward Little Red Eddies
Coach: Norm Gagne (second year, 44th year overall)
Class: A North
Last year’s results: 11-7-1, lost in regional semifinals.
Returning athletes: Seniors — Ben Cassidy (F), Aaron Perkins (F), Gage Doucette (F), Cam Audette (D); Juniors — Logan Alexander (F), Cam Sturgis (F), Ben Lane Robichaud (F), Kegan Rodrigue (F), Gunnar Winslow (F), Dylan Campbell (D), Gavin Toussaint (G); Sophomores — Colin Merritt (F), Marius Morneau (D), Will Cassidy (D).
Key losses: Eli Thibideau (F), Alex Landry (D).
Promising newcomers: Senior — Devon D’Auteuil (G); Junior — Tanner Holbrook (F); Sophomore — Keegan Moon (D).
What to expect: Gagne is looking for his senior leadership to be the key to success this season. The Red Eddies will also need to defend their end of the ice well. With returning goalie Toussaint, and the arrival of D’Auteuil from St. Dom’s, Gagne has a pair of netminders he can trust. All-State defenseman Campbell and veteran Audette will help as well. The returning forwards will be the first line of defense, and can put the puck in the net as well.
Lake Region/Fryeburg/Oxford Hills Ice Cats
Coach: Dave Lepage (13th year)
Class: A South
Last year’s results: Junior Varsity schedule.
Returning athletes: Seniors — Liam Chisari (D), Justin Mushrow (F); Juniors — Cam Lepage (D), Graham Payne (G), Jake Domegan (F), Bobby LeBlanc (G); Sophomores — Ed Thurston (F), Will Galligan (F), Colby Turcotte (F).
Key losses: None.
Promising newcomers: Sophomore — Teddy Bradley (F); Freshmen — Raider Nutley (D), Matt Aker (F), Wyatt Knightly (F).
Outlook: The Ice Cats have made the jump back up to varsity play after competing only at the JV level the past two seasons. That means longer games and a faster pace. Lepage said for his team to have any success the players will have to be moving their feet consistently and give everything they have, every shift. Improvement, and not the outcome, needs to be the team’s focus, said Lepage, who thinks his team can find some success.
Leavitt/Gray-New Gloucester/Oak Hill/Poland Kings
Coach: Joe Hutchinson (third year, plus three previous years with Leavitt)
Class: B South
Last year’s results: 11-8, lost in regional quarterfinals.
Returning athletes: Seniors — Dakota Soucy (G), Austin Taylor (F), Trent Vaillancourt (F), Andrew Topham (F), Jayson Martin (D), Cole Gagne (D); Juniors — Nate Marcotte (D), Sam Boles (F); Sophomore — Sam Tibbetts (D).
Key losses: Connor Cyr (F), Parker Springer (D), Bailey Drouin (D), Brandon Michaud (F), Garrett Derocher (F), Garrett Haskins (F).
Promising newcomers: Senior — Xavier Michaud (G); Junior — Lucas Mortensen (F); Sophomores — Spencer Berube (F), Bryce Doucette (F); Freshmen — Blake Springer (D), Aiden Gonzalez (F), Reese Collins (F).
What to expect: The Kings lost a lot of experience from last year, but they replace that with young talent that Hutchinson said he is excited about. The future looks bright for the Kings, but the present could be successful as well. There will be challenging opponents in a new class and region, but Hutchinson thinks his team can compete with the best of Class B South. Solid goalie play — which the Kings think they have — will help.
Lewiston Blue Devils
Coach: Jamie Belleau (11th year)
Class: A North
Last year’s results: 19-2, Class A state champions.
Returning athletes: Seniors — Jacob Smith (G), Shawn Chabot (G), Ridge Field (D), John Mathon (D), Willie Blanchette (D), Brock Geoffroy (D), Caden Smith (F), Tyler Marcoux (F); Juniors — Sam Laroche (D), Sam Payne (D), Ryan Pomerleau (F), Kurtis Pelletier (F), Ben St. Laurent (F), Drew St. Hilaire; Sophomore — Nick Pomerleau (D).
Key losses: Dustin Larochelle (F), Chad Lynch (F), Gunnar Wade (F), Ryan Bossie (D), Conrad Albert (G), Alex Robert (F), Sam Frechette (F), Jack Leblond (F), Jacob Story (D).
Promising newcomers: Michael Belleau (F), Joey Gendron (F), Logan Tripp (F), Mason Beaudoin (F), Jack Madden (F), Damon Bossie (D), Keegan McLaughlin (G).
What to expect: The three-time defending state champs return most of their defensive corps, as well as a few forwards and a pair of goalies. Players from a strong JV program last year will look to fill the voids of the departed players. Belleau thinks the strength of the team will be in the defensive end. The Blue Devils are hoping to make another title run despite all the roster turnover.
Maranacook/Winthrop/Madison/Spruce Mountain Hawks
Coach: Jack Rioux (second year)
Class: B South
Last year’s results: 1-17-0.
Returning athletes: Senior — Will Hays (G); Juniors — Keegan Choate (D), Brian Shea (F), Coleman Watson (F), Shane Tweedie (F), Patrick Prescott (F).
Key losses: Eli Bulba, Luke St. Hilaire, Danny Shea.
Promising newcomers: Sophomore — Max Thamert (F); Freshmen — Isaac Parker (D), Evan Gourley (D).
What to expect: Rioux expects a big year out of his senior goalie, Will Hays. And with a more mature team around him, the Hawks — who add Spruce Mountain to the mix this year — could surprise a few teams. However, games against the stronger Class B South schools, such as Greely and Cape Elizabeth, will be challenges.
Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse/Hyde Eagles
Coach: AJ Kavanaugh (fourth Year)
Class: A North
Last year’s results: 9-9 (seventh in Class A North, missed playoffs).
Returning athletes: Seniors — Noah Austin (F), Cade Charron (G), Cam Poisson (D).
Key losses: Sam Alexander, Nick Austin, Cam Grant, Noah Buiniskas.
Promising newcomers: Senior — Ian Cooke (D); Junior — Ian Struck (F); Sophomores — Noah Magda (F/D), Brandon Durant (F), Andrew Pulsifer (D); Freshmen — Hunter Merryman (F), Alex Witwicki (F), Sean Moore (G).
What to expect: The Eagles are very young, but they do return senior captains Austin, Charron and Poisson. Noah Austin led Class A North in scoring last season, and will carry the burden of putting pucks in the nets again this season. Newcomer Struck, from Hyde School, will be a big part of the offense as well. Add in Charron’s experience in net, as well as a talented freshmen class, and Kavanaugh sees this team competing for a playoff spot this year.
Saint Dominic Academy Saints
Coach: Bob Parker (fourth year)
Class: A North
Last year’s results: 10-9-2, lost in regional final.
Returning athletes: Seniors — Gaston Fuksa (G), Ben Gosselin (D), Ryan Davis (F), Hunter Hughes (F), Jeremy Phelan (F); Juniors — Alex Roy (G), Will Fletcher (F), Jacob Lewis (F), Zack Pelletier (F), Jaden Webster (F), Jack Ouellette (D), Michael Cilley (D); Sophomores — Dominic Chasse (F), Lucas Pushard (F), Derek Wolverton (D), Matthew Fletcher (D), Noah Pratt (D).
Key losses: Mack Pelletier.
Promising newcomers: Sophomores — Keenan St. Pierre (F), Murphy Randall (F); Freshman — Leandro Naous (F).
What to expect: Unlike last season, this year’s St. Dom’s team has plenty of experience, and players who have been together for a few years. The strength, according to Parker, is the two goalies. Hard work from the skaters will also be a key. Parker wants his team to play “Saints hockey,” which he said is to skate fast and control play with a high-tempo pace.