Torn between a high school career in basketball or hockey, young Norm Gagne tried both at Edward Little.

“I’d go to both teams’ practices,” Gagne recalled. “I was trying to figure it out.”

Several of Gagne’s friends played hockey. Finally, he had to make a decision.

“(The hockey coach) finally said, ‘Hey, what are you going to do? Are you going to play hockey or basketball?’ I asked him what my chances were on the hockey team. He told me I was going to be his starting goalie, and that sealed the deal for me.”

More than 35 years later, Gagne has coached six state championship winners at two different schools and has led teams deep into the playoffs nearly every season he’s been at the helm.

All thanks in part to that determined young coach at Edward Little, Lincoln Gordon.

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Gordon, 82, died Tuesday after a brief battle with cancer.

Gagne was just one of hundreds of students and student-athletes Gordon impacted in his decades of service in teaching and coaching at Dixfield and Edward Little high schools, not to mention the legions of people he’s impacted in the skiing world — Gordon was one of the original builders of the Lost Valley Ski Area for Otto Wallingford, and helped run the rental shop there for 25 years.

After retiring from teaching at Edward Little in 1986, Gordon also kept busy in the officiating world, serving as a baseball umpire and hockey referee for several years, including terms at the head of the Central Maine Baseball Umpires Association and the Central Maine Ice Hockey Referees Association.

One of Gordon’s most widely known accomplishments occurred in 1958. Then a young athletic director and three-sport coach at Dixfield, Gordon led a small group of high school hockey players to the state’s ultimate upset: Dixfield upended St. Dom’s in the state title game that season after ousting Lewiston in the semifinal round, this after winning just four regular-season games that winter, and playing the majority of their games outdoors.

“They were kings,” former Dixfield player Tim Hanson told the Sun Journal for a 2008 story on the upset. “We’d never planned on beating St. Dom’s.”

“Miracles do happen,” Dixfield skater Jimmy Gill added. “It really was a miracle.”

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Two years later, Gordon was at Edward Little, and helped rekindle the hockey program in Auburn.

“Our first couple of years, I remember one year. early in the season, we somehow ended up in first place,” Gagne said. “We beat all the big boys — Lewiston, St. Dom’s and at Waterville — and we shocked everybody.”

The summer before Gordon’s son, Larry, made his freshman debut on the ice for Edward Little, in 1973, Linc stepped down.

“He didn’t want to deal with that,” Larry Gordon said. “The politics of it, and everything.”

Assistant coach Dave Morin, a long-time area coach at EL and Leavitt, took over the program for the balance of the 1970s and into the 80s.

As a player, Linc Gordon was also solid on the diamond. He played baseball for Dixfield, in addition to hockey, and eventually played for the Dixfield Townies, a team in the Timber League that twice played for a national title in Battle Creek, Mich., where he was named an all-star.

Gordon leaves behind his son, Larry, daughters Marcia Jolicoeur, Deborah Heffernan and Cathy Stevens, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His family has announced visiting hours of 2 to 2:45 p.m. at High Street Congregational Church on Pleasant St. in Auburn on Thursday, July 2.


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