After seven years coaching alongside his former high school coach and helping Scarborough High School reach four regional finals — with two wins there and a state crown in 2015 — Jake Brown will step to the fore as the Red Storm’s new head ice hockey coach next season.
“Scarborough’s been great to me,” Brown said. “It’s really been a good fit for me, both as a teach and as a coach. I’m excited to move forward with this team.”
Brown, a Lewiston native who played four seasons as a defenseman for the Blue Devils, is also a middle school teacher and middle school athletic director at Scarborough, and for seven seasons, coached alongside veteran bench boss Norm Gagne, who left Scarborough for his alma mater, Edward Little High School, this spring.
“I learned a lot from Norm,” Brown said. “How he interacts with the kids, the passion he has for the game, and for teaching the game, is amazing. The kids build off that energy.”
“I know the program is in good hands,” Gagne told the Sun Journal after taking the Edward Little job in April. “I have a lot of confidence in Jake, and we made him an associate coach the past couple of years. He’s ready.”
One of the first priorities for Brown will be getting a handle on the program’s travel situation. Last year, after the sudden closure of their former home rink in Saco, Scarborough commuted 45 minutes north to Lewiston every day for practices and games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Though he was along for many of those bus rides last season, Brown will be faced with the day-to-day coordination of schedules in addition to the standard hockey-related duties of a head coach.
“It’s had to tell where we’ll be at this point, honestly,” Brown said. “I know (Scarborough AD) Michael (LeGage) will do the best he can to get us the best ice we can, both for practices and games. There’s a lot of effort that goes into all of that.”
Brown said his philosophy on the ice doesn’t differ far from Gagne’s.
“You won’t see a lot different next year,” Brown admitted. “Norm gave me a lot of responsibilities the past few years, where he knew my goal was to one day be a head coach, so each year I got to do more and more.
“Like the Scarborough teams you’ve seen,” Brown continued, “we’re going to build from the defensive zone, and go from there. We lost a lot of kids from last year’s team, with 12 seniors, but we have some good defense and a good goalie coming back, and at the high school level, if you can be strong there, you’ll always have a chance to win.”
Brown is excited to get things going in time for summer hockey. He’s also going to be juggling a few things this summer, when he’s also the coach of the Lewiston-based Pastime Club American Legion baseball team, which begins play in a couple of weeks.
“The schedule is packed this summer,” Brown said. “Both communities, Lewiston and Scarborough, have been great to me, and I’m happy to be able to give back to both through coaching.”