Obit Bill Belisle Hockey

Longtime Mount Saint Charles boys hockey coach Bill Belisle, left, stands behind the bench during a game in Woonsocket, R.I., in December 2001. Belisle, who died earlier this month at 92 years old, led the Mounties to 32 state championships in more than four decades at the helm and had more than 20 players drafted by NHL teams. (AP file photo)

Bill Belisle, the longtime boys hockey coach of the Mount St. Charles Academy Mounties in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, died at 92 years old on Jan. 12.

Belisle led the Mounties to 1,000 wins and 32 state championships.

Lewiston native and Bowdoin College men’s hockey coach Jamie Dumont moved to Rhode Island prior to entering high school and played for Belisle at Mount St. Charles from 1988-92.

“It was the hardest thing ever, but the most rewarding,” Dumont said. “With Bill, he never let you cut corners. He was one of those guys that you would do it his way or there was the doorway. That was really the crux of it because he would have people lining up that wanted your position.”

Dumont said athletes who could play for Belisle could play for anyone and work for anyone because while he was coaching them he also was preparing them for life.

Grueling practices were a major part of that preparation.


“The practices were harder than the games — I mean that very literally,” Dumont said. “That time high school hockey in Rhode Island: Catholic Memorial, St. John’s Prep, (Bishop) Hendricken and La Salle Academy were all really good teams. So to prepare for those teams, the practices were hard, there was no letup. Everybody talks about the doors (to the arena) being locked and no one can get in; that’s all true because he wanted your focus on him and what we had to do as a team to get ready.”

When there was a snow day at school, Dumont said the team would practice at the school-owned rink from noon to 5 p.m.

Belisle was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2016 and retired from coaching in 2019. According to the National State High School Federation, Belisle’s coaching record is 1,000-187-40. His 1,000 career wins are the most for a boys high school hockey coach in the United States. Edward Little’s Norm Gagne is second in the nation with 774 wins.

Gagne said he met Belisle once at a Hockey Night in Boston function, and that they tried to schedule games against each other when Gagne coached at Waterville.

Gagne recalls watching Mount St. Charles when they came to Maine to play against Lewiston and North Yarmouth Academy during the 1982-83 season. On that Mounties team was forward Brian Lawton, who was selected first overall in the 1983 NHL draft by the Minnesota North Stars.

“I went to the game against NYA and NYA beat them 3-2,” Gagne said. “They beat Lewiston the night before 7-0, I believe, then they played NYA (the next day). That was a great game; going to the game, it was something to see.”


Lawton was one of 23 NHL draft picks Belisle coached. NYA also had a future NHL player on its roster, defenseman Eric Weinrich.

Mount St. Charles’ 32 state championships are most by any school in the nation. Grand Forks Central (North Dakota) is second with 29 state titles, St. Dominic Academy is third with 26 and Lewiston is fourth with 25.

The Mounties’ 32 titles includes 26 in a row from 1978-2003. That streak nearly came to an end during Dumont’s junior year when Mount St. Charles lost Game 1 of the best-of-three state championship final.

“We lost to La Salle, who probably had the better team,” Dumont said. “La Salle had three or four players that left Mount for LaSalle for various reasons. We lost the first game out of three, but we came back won (the next two). We came together and the biggest thing is you didn’t want to be the team that loses (the streak). That was the rallying cry and (where) the bonding (came from).”


The Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse boys coach AJ Kavanaugh hopes the forecasted storm doesn’t postpone Saturday’s game against Lake Region/Fryeburg Academy/Oxford Hills.


The Eagles are on a two-week break and are looking forward to returning to action.

“It was midterms for a lot of our students; it worked out well for them where they could focus on their academics,” Kavanaugh said.

The Eagles were supposed to play against Brunswick on Jan. 18, but that game didn’t happen because COVID-19 forced Brunswick High School to switch to remote learning.

Mt. Ararat/Lisbon/Morse only practiced twice last week because of lack of available ice time. They returned to practice this week and have Friday off before the potential game against the Ice Cats on Saturday.

The focus of those practices will be on defense.

“We are really working on our (defensive) zone coverage against the stronger teams,” Kavanaugh said. “It’s a spot for us to improve on and we have seen signs of it at practice that looked really good. We hope it translates to games.”


The Eagles are 5-5 this season and are looking to build consistency in the final eight regular-season games before the start of the postseason.

“We still have a goal in mind to finish in the top eight and host a playoff game,” Kavanaugh said. “Hosting a playoff game hasn’t happened in a long time. I think the last time the Eagles hosted a playoff game was way back when Mark Rodgers (who went on to play in the MLB) was playing. I think it was against Waterville, but it was a long time.”


The St. Dom’s/Gray-New Gloucester/Winthrop/Monmouth girls hockey team is finding its stride and has won three of its past four games.

“I think some of the things we have put in place started clicking and we got a little bit of momentum,” Saints coach Paul Gosselin said. “We sounded up our defense and made sure the centers were taken care of. It seemed to work out very well.”

Gosselin moved Isabella Webster to defense and Emma Roy and West Duffy to center.

The moves support freshman goaltender Abrianna White.

“We have a young goalie and we want to help her out by keeping the goals down,” Gosselin said. “It has helped out and kept the pucks out of the (slot), and it also helps in transition because we are strong in the middle; (Roy and West) can move (the puck) to the wings.”

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