In the winter of 2005, current Scarborough head coach Jake Brown was like any other freshman in their first year with the Lewiston Blue Devils boys hockey team.

“He made a lot of mistakes,” said current Edward Little coach Norm Gagne, who coached the Blue Devils from 2005-08. “…I always tell my players, if you want to get better as a player, you got to be the student of the game and understanding why we do what we do in any system we run, understand your role and understand everybody else’s role and why your role is so important.”

Brown did just that. He immersed himself to be an elite thinker of the game, understanding his role and his teammates’ role as a young defenseman.

“As a freshman to play varsity minutes at Lewiston, there’s a lot of pressure,” Brown said. “To be 15-years-old playing a lot of minutes, I was definitely someone who tried to be the student of the game and someone who tried to learn from my mistakes. I don’t think I would have been as successful there if Coach Gagne didn’t give the opportunity to get a lot of minutes as a freshman.”

His role for his first three years with the Blue Devils under Gagne’s leadership was as a stay-at-home defenseman, being the goaltender’s personal body guard.

Brown’s quick-study approach under the watch of coach Gagne earned him second team all-state his sophomore season and a first team all-KVAC and first team all-state his junior season.


“I had a lot of players who had a lot of talent, but they didn’t really understand, they weren’t good students of the game,” Gagne said. “They couldn’t take advantage of their talent and that’s what made Jake the coach he is because of his understanding of the game and understanding his role. Like I said before, he knew his strengths and knew his weaknesses. That what made him a player, he played to his strength and he always worked on his weaknesses. He got better as he went on.”

He also played in three state championship games. The Blue Devils lost to Cheverus in 2006 and ran into a buzz saw in Biddeford in 2007 and 2008 when the Tigers had a future two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins Brian Dumoulin on the roster.

Sun Journal file photo: In this file photo from current Scarborough coach Jake Brown’s high school playing career, the Lewiston defenseman and Edward Little’s Craig Michaud battle it out on the boards in a Class A quarterfinals hockey game.

After his junior year, Gagne stepped down as the coach of Lewiston. The Blue Devils pegged Jamie Belleau, the current coach as their new bench boss.

Brown did not know Belleau personally heading into his senior season.

“That’s the first time I met him,” Brown said. “I knew of him; I knew the success he had at Edward Little. I was excited to meet him. I think we connected from the start of that season. He was coming in as a new coach to a new team, so, he really relied on me and the other captain to help him to get to know the guys. He knows his X’s and O’s really well. He’s very good at strategy and I think, more importantly, he knows how to motivate kids.”

Belleau had a slightly different role for Brown for his final year of high school hockey in 2008-09 — be more of a two-way defenseman and not just a net protector.


“I think that senior year, coach Belleau really wanted me to contribute in the offensive zone as well,” Brown said.

Brown recalls roughly recording around 25 points for his career. He does remember the points were mostly assists as he didn’t find the back of the net that often.

His new role as a puck distributor led to more awards, as he once again earned first team all-state and first team KVAC honors in his senior year.

The biggest impact Brown had that year was in the locker room.

“He was a senior captain, I only coached him for one year,” Belleau said. “Great kid, did all the right things. Like I said, very similar to (current Lewiston senior forward Ryan) Pomerleau, very good off the ice, good on the ice. But I didn’t really start building a relationship with him until he started coaching as an assistant at Scarborough.”

Brown keeps in touch with both of his high school coaches on a daily basis during the high school season, bouncing ideas off of his mentors while his mentors also bounce ideas off the young hockey mind.


The relationship between Belleau and Brown was in full effect as Brown’s Scarborough Red Storm knocked off Norm Gagne’s Edward Little team 3-2 in overtime prior to the Lewiston-South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete semifinal.

Belleau waited patiently by the Scarborough locker room for Brown to finish addressing his players post game. When Brown exited the locker room in the back of the Colisee, Belleau greeted him with a hug of congratulations.

“I didn’t have to do it, it is important, I have a lot of respect for him,” Belleau said. “He’s a former player of mine and I think he looks at me as someone who has been a valuable resource to him as he worked his through the coaching ranks, but ironically I learn as much from him as he probably said he learns from me. It’s a special relationship. Obviously that relationship started as I coached him, it has continued as he decided to get in the coaching ranks. I care about him and it’s important for me to make sure he knows that.”

It wasn’t the first time Belleau has had given him a hug after a milestone. The first one came three years ago when the Red Storm played its home games at the Colisee in Lewiston.

“It definitely surprised me and it really meant a lot to me,” Brown said of the hug after Tuesday’s game. “But again, that’s the type of person he is. He was also the person that did the same thing three years ago when I won my first game as a head coach. It was at the Colisee, he did the same exact thing then, he waited outside the locker room, (Lewiston) were playing after us.”

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