Edward Little’s Gavin Levesque charges up the ice during a sprint drill on the first day of boys hockey practice Monday at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

AUBURN — The Edward Little boys hockey team has been anxiously waiting to get back on the ice after a heartbreaking loss to Thornton Academy 2-1 in the Class A state semifinal earlier this year.

“Since the day we lost to Thornton back (in March) and since fall sports have ended, we all have been a little bit bored counting down,” senior goalie Gage Ducharme said. “We are all friends, so we all have been talking about it together — we have been really excited.”

The Red Eddies hit the ice for the first day of winter practices Monday afternoon at Norway Savings Bank Arena.

“It feels good; it’s my senior year, and I want to win,” defenseman Gavin Levesque said. “Last year was kind of a disappointment.”

The regular season for most winter sports begins on Dec. 9.

Edward Little coach Norm Gagne knows what he’s talking about when he says that winning a state championship isn’t easy. He has appeared in 19 state games and coached seven title teams (three apiece at Gardiner and Waterville and one at Scarborough).


“It really hurt last year; I felt like we had the horses to do it,” Gagne said. “… I have been to the state championship game 19 times between A and B. I have coached Class A and B (teams). You never know what’s going to happen. There are times (when) you are the underdog and you won. Then there are times you are the top team and lost. It’s not an easy road to where you want to go.”

The Red Eddies’ loss last season, as the No. 1 seed, to the fifth-seeded Golden Trojans, taught the Edward Little players that seeding doesn’t mean everything.

“It comes down to playing your best hockey at the best time and the right time,” senior forward Campbell Cassidy said. “It doesn’t matter how you play in the regular season. If you come to play in the playoffs, that’s all that matters. Look at last year: a seventh seed, Scarborough, won it all.”

Head coach Norm Gagne offers encouragement Monday to the Edward Little boys hockey team during the first day of winter practices for most winter sports Monday at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Edward Little won its first 13 games during the 2021-22 season before going 3-3 in the final six games of the regular season and playoffs.

Gagne said the Red Eddies didn’t focus enough on improvement during the season.

“We have to learn from our mistakes and get better,” Gagne said. “I think, at times last year, maybe it was easy for us at times, and we didn’t look at making ourselves better. We were happy with the status quo, sort of speak.”


The Red Eddies said they have the potential to make another playoff run this season. All of the defensemen from last year’s team return, along with Ducharme, who has been the starting goalie since he was a freshman.

“We have some great skilled players; we didn’t lose a single defenseman,” senior defenseman Brody Keefe said. “We have a great goalie in Gage, and he’s really a wall for us back there.”

Edward Little lost some depth at the forward position with the graduation of Brody’s brother, Jack Keefe, a Travis Roy Award finalist, Trey Coulombe, Aiden Gonzales and Wesley Clements.

Gagne said a handful of younger players did become offensive contributors last year, including Andrew Clements, Peyton Dyer and Tate Morse.

Gagne said that the Red Eddies’ success will depend on how well players step into their new roles.

“I know that we have the ingredients in that locker room; if we do the things that I think we can do — work hard, have good leadership — we are going to be a force on the ice,” Gagne said.



Two years ago, the Red Eddies were one of the favorites to win the state championship, but the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the state playoffs.

This year, the season almost didn’t happen when the officials and Maine Principles Association had a pay dispute. However, the two parties came to an agreement with the help of former Edward Little and Lewiston coach Jamie Belleau — he coached the Red Eddies to back-to-back Class A state championships in 2003 and 2004 — who served as mediator between the referees and officials.

Peyton Dyer sprints up the ice Monday during the Edward Little boys hockey team’s first day of practice at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Gagne was worried about the two sides potentially not coming to an agreement.

“Like I was saying, someone has to speak for the kids here,” Gagne said. “The kids are the ones that are going to get hurt by this.”

The players were concerned about the season not starting or even being canceled.

“The referee thing scared me a bit; now that we are all set, it’s go time,” Campbell Cassidy said.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.