LEWISTON — Jamie Belleau set his sights early on hockey and the law.
Both passions stuck, and so did his love of hometown.
Belleau, 43, is head coach of the Lewiston Blue Devils boys’ hockey team, a new partner at Trafton, Matzen, Belleau & Frenette and a Lewiston booster, big time.
“The Lewiston School Department, Lewiston High School, does a lot of things right,” Belleau said. “Lewiston kids are great kids. Excellent teachers, coaches and I really like being a part of that.”
The youngest of three kids raised by a single mom, he started playing hockey around the age of 7. By high school, in the 1980s, the competition was stiff. Belleau played forward.
“Back then, there would be 100 kids on the ice trying for 35 spots,” he said. “It was craziness.”
He graduated from Lewiston High School in 1989 and played hockey at Bowdoin.
“I’ve had my teeth knocked out three times,” he said. “I’ve had one knee reconstructed twice and the other one scoped.”
Law, thankfully, has been less knock down and drag out.
In high school, Belleau had an interest in American history and politics and said he figured, “If I like that, I’d be a good fit to be a lawyer.”
That logic didn’t hold up in hindsight, he said — “in reality, practicing law is a lot different than having an interest in U.S. history and government” — but it still worked out.
His mind was already made up when he discovered lawyers ran in his family: Great-great-grandfather Francois X. Belleau was the first Franco-American to be admitted to practice law in Maine.
While he was at Bowdoin getting ready to apply to law school and keeping that legacy going, Belleau visited a former professor and mentor at his Boston law office for help with the application.
“I remember going up to this big skyscraper, and I’m thinking, ‘Aw, this is awesome,'” Belleau said. He told his mentor, “‘This is what I want.’ He looked at me, I’ll never forget: ‘Remember where you came from.’ He was basically saying you come from a pretty special place.”
After being sworn in at the Androscoggin County Courthouse, after graduating from the University of Maine School of Law in 1996, Belleau found signatures from Francois’ sons, Hercules and Fortunat, in the leather-bound book of oaths that each new lawyer signs.
“It’s kind of cool,” he said.
He lives in Lewiston with his wife, Rebecca, a teacher, and their four kids. He’s also head coach in the Maine Gladiators program for his son, Michael’s, peewee team and assistant coach for son, James’, bantam team.
Belleau was head hockey coach for three years at Edward Little High School, winning two state championships, before heading up the Lewiston program eight years ago.
What he likes most about the law: Building relationships and problem-solving in difficult circumstances.
And about hockey: The competition.
“I get the best of both worlds,” Belleau said. “We get to compete for a championship every year while also being a part of a school that has given so much to me and, in a small way, I am in a position to give back to the school and its student-athletes.”
A state championship at Lewiston has been elusive, so far.
“I don’t have one yet; it’s killing me,” he said.
This season, there’s still a chance: Lewiston will face St. Dom’s in the regional Eastern Class A finals on Tuesday.
Know someone everyone knows? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or [email protected]
This story was updated at 9:12 a.m. Monday.