AUBURN — That hockey seems like a small world to many people is no surprise. It takes a special breed of person to endure early mornings, late nights, frigid temperatures and countless hours of practice.

And when two people of that same breed meet, the bond they form is instantaneous and lasting.

Anyone who has ever played the sport at a local level also knows that the leagues, teams, and in particular the players, become part of something greater — part of a family.

No greater example of this familial feeling in Maine hockey exists than that at St. Dominic Academy.

In 2005, one of the greatest icons in the school’s hockey history, Bob Boucher, coached in his final game after 25 seasons and five state championships.

He built his teams on character, leadership and values — on family.

And he built them to win.

In 2007, he died.

Scott Rousseau, then the head coach at Falmouth High School, summed up what the Maine hockey community — another of those families — was thinking.

“We lost a giant,” Rousseau said.

A giant, indeed.

And while the Maine hockey community mourned, his closest hockey family, those at St. Dom’s, felt the greatest grief. The institution had lost a father figure.

In December, almost seven years later, many of his family members — including his wife, Linda — gathered at the sparkling new Norway Savings Bank Arena, the Saints’ new home facility.

Four schools and six different programs share space in the dual-sheet structure, each with their own locker room space. The Saints’ boys’ and girls’ teams each have their own locker room area, as do teams from Edward Little, Leavitt and Poland/Gray-New Gloucester.

When Edward Little opened its boys’ locker room, the Eddies dedicated their space to Jamie Benson, a fallen former youth hockey teammate of many of the school’s players, and son of former athletic director Jeff Benson, now at Oxford Hills. He was a happy-go-lucky, athletic child with passions surrounding baseball and hockey.

Benson died after surgery to place a pulmonary valve in his heart in 2002. In November, the Eddies placed their plaque next to their room at the new arena, dedicating their space to his memory.

Then, it was St. Dom’s turn to dedicate a locker room.

Deacon Denis Mailhot and St. Dom’s Athletic Director Gene Keene led a brief but touching ceremony. Keene spoke of family, and how Boucher’s belief was that a good team meant being a good family. Mailhot quoted the late Herb Brooks, and the speech he gave the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team in 1980, reminding everyone that “great moments are born of great opportunity.”

Mailhot also led the assembled crown in a blessing of the locker rooms.

Finally, Linda Boucher produced a pair of scissors, and with dozens of people watching with widening smiles, cut the ribbons to officially dedicate the team’s locker rooms to her husband’s memory.

Hockey may seem like it’s a small world to many. But as Bob Boucher showed St. Dom’s, Maine and the greater hockey community at large, the sport and its participants are just one big family.


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