Edward Little High School boys head hockey coach Norm Gagne runs drills during the first day of practice before the 2017-18 season. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Norm Gagne isn’t ready to put the whistle away just yet.

Gagne took some time after the 2022-23 boys hockey season to consider his future, and he has decided to return to Edward Little’s bench for his 50th and likely final season of coaching.

Edward Little High School boys varsity hockey coach Norm Gagne looks on during a January 2022 game in Auburn against St. Dominic Academy. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

“I want whoever takes it over is going (to continue) what I have going,” Gagne said. “That’s what I am looking for, and I don’t want to see it fall apart after I brought it where it is. I am hoping it will work out.”

Edward Little athletic director Todd Sampson is glad Gagne is returning.

“The last couple of years, after COVID, the winter season is a long season — there are a lot of late nights in the hockey world, and it becomes a grind,” Sampson said. “In his words, ‘He’s no spring chicken.’ He still has great health and he can’t golf in the winter. So he has to find something that keeps him occupied. We are happy he’s coming back for another year.”

Gagne said his assistant coaches, Kevin Smith and Mike Hefty, encouraged him to return next season.


Since Gagne began coaching Edward Little, his alma mater, at the start of the 2017-18 season, the Red Eddies are 74-33-2 in the regular season and playoffs.

Gagne, 78, earned his 800th coaching win in February. He has 805 total wins, which ranks second-most all-time in the nation for boys high school hockey. Only Bill Belisle, who coached Mt. St. Charles in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, has more wins, with 1,000.

Gagne began coaching Gardiner in 1973-74 as a club team. After the MPA introduced Class B for the 1975-76 season, he led the Tigers to the state championship, which they lost to Biddeford. He stayed with Gardiner before joining Waterville for the 1986-87 season, where he coached until the 2003-04 season.

After a one-year stint at Gorham, coached began coaching at Lewiston High School in 2005-06. He guided the Blue Devils to three straight Class A state championship appearances, but they lost to Cheverus in 2006 and Brian Dumoulin-led Biddeford squads in 2007 and in 2008. Gagne moved to Scarborough for the 2008-09 season before joining Edward Little for the 2017-18 season.

Gagne’s teams have won seven state championships: three with Gardiner, three with Waterville, and one with Scarborough. He was a 2013 inductee into the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame and a 2017 inductee into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame

After two consecutive seasons with large senior classes — including two Travis Roy Award finalists Jack Keefe in 2022 and Campbell Cassidy in 2023 — Gagne said he is looking forward to coaching a younger squad next season.


“I wouldn’t want to leave when we won’t have as much as we have had in the past,” Gagne said. “I think I can do a lot with this group. I am hoping that I am able to do that. I want them to be successful and I have had a lot of success with a young group.”

Sampson said he expects Gagne will get the most out of next year’s players.

“One of the things he enjoys is teaching the game,” Sampson said. “He feels some of our younger kids and incoming freshmen have high hockey IQs and he’s excited to work with them.”

Gagne said he’s already started simplifying the game plans for next year’s team.

“We are going to do the best (we can), and we saw some kids, young freshmen are going to be put in bigger roles (next) year (as sophomores), and some of the sophomores are, too, who will be juniors next year,” Gagne said. “Hopefully, we will have two or three new kids coming in that are freshmen that will help us out, too. We are excited, I am excited, and I have the ol’ juices flowing now.”

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