LEWISTON — Lewiston senior Jeromey Rancourt has more in common with Travis Roy than just a passion for hockey.

“Travis Roy has demonstrated how a tragedy can alter an individual’s path in life,” Rancourt said Sunday in a speech to a crowded room at the Ramada Inn.

Rancourt knows this all too well. After losing his father when he was 7, he turned his focus to hockey and became one of the top high school players in Maine. The forward led Lewiston to back-to-back Class A state titles, and he was honored Sunday as the winner of the Travis Roy Award at the Class A Hockey Coaches Association banquet.

The award, given to the top senior player in Class A, is named for a former North Yarmouth Academy standout who was paralyzed 11 seconds into his first shift in his first game for Boston University. He now lives in Boston and is a motivational speaker who works with a charity named for him that helps people who suffer from spinal injuries.

“Being nominated for this Travis Roy Award is an honor because of who Travis was on and off the ice,” Rancourt said. “Travis Roy has motivated me and so many other people in this world to keep moving forward in life no matter what kind of adversity comes your way.”

In his speech, Rancourt recalled the moment in the hospital when he learned his dad, David, had died. David served with the Androscoggin County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years before suffering a fatal heart attack while diving into the Androscoggin River searching for evidence in a criminal case. He was 40.

“I was numb. I could have given up and not pursued my dreams, but I continued to be me,” Rancourt said. “I realized that all I wanted to do was play hockey and make my dad proud. If it wasn’t for my teammates, my coaches and my mom, I couldn’t have gotten through that tragic time in my life.”

Both Rancourt and his mother, Dawn, were teary-eyed after he was announced the winner.

“I don’t even … I’m speechless. Just very, very proud,” Dawn said. “He managed to push forward. He sat here three years ago and said, ‘I want that award.’ Then, when he found out he’d have to give a speech, he was like, ‘Yeah maybe not.'”

Dawn laughed, noting her son isn’t a fan of public speaking. “And here he is,” she said.

Rancourt tied for the team lead in scoring during the regular season with 44 points – 18 goals and a team-high 26 assists – then added a goal and five assists in three playoff games.

“He’s obviously one of the best,” Lewiston Coach Jamie Belleau said. “As good as his performance on the ice has been, he has been a good representation of his family, his teammates and his community. He’s humble and recognizes the importance of his teammates.”

Other finalists for the award were Falmouth forward Robbie Armitage, Scarborough defenseman Eric Murray and Bangor goalie Derek Fournier.

“(Rancourt) is just awesome,” said Armitage, who paced a young Falmouth squad to the state final with 33 regular-season points (16 goals, 17 assists). “You’ve seen what he has done. The award undoubtedly has to go to him.”

Murray, a defenseman who led Scarborough in scoring during the regular season with 15 points (seven goals, eight assists), also said Rancourt was “definitely deserving” of the award.

“Rancourt is spectacular,” Murray said. “I’ve been playing against him for a ton of years now, and he has scored countless goals against me. He’s dynamic, he makes plays happen, and I’m really happy for him.”

Rancourt said winning this award is an honor he will always cherish.

“It wasn’t until my father passed away where I realized I had more of a reason to play hockey, and I wanted to go as far as I could with the sport,” Rancourt said. “I strive to be the best person I can be on and off the ice to make my father proud.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or:

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