Friday, April 18, 2014
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Red Gendron, who helped Yale win the NCAA title last season as the associate head coach, wants a return to the days Alfond Arena was bubbling with excitement.
Photos by Michael C. York/The Associated Press
Red Gendron was chosen by a search committee led by Dr. George Jacobson, center, and then hired by the school president, Paul Ferguson, right, to succeed Tim Whitehead.
UMAINE HOCKEY COACHES
• Jack Semler, 1977-83 (105-112-2)
• Shawn Walsh, 1983-2001 (399-215-44)
• Greg Cronin, 1995-96 (20-13-2)
• Tim Whitehead, 2001-13 (250-171-54)
• Red Gendron, 2013-
NOTE: Cronin was the interim coach while Walsh was suspended for violating NCAA rules
"(Gendron) seems like a straightforward, stand-up guy," said defenseman Jake Rutt of Scarborough. "He's won at every single level. He knows how to play the game and how to play it right. And he's going to turn Maine back on the right track."
The Black Bears are coming off an 11-19-8 season, placing eighth in Hockey East and swept by UMass-Lowell in the first round of the league playoffs.
Attendance at Alfond -- where they won only two games -- dwindled to its lowest level since the 1991-92 season. Gendron saw firsthand the value of filling the arena with fans hungry for success.
"(Walsh) was a dynamic leader," Gendron said. "One of his genuine gifts was the ability to get people excited about Maine hockey. And he made everybody feel like they were a part of it."
Gendron looked up into the empty blue seats and remembered nights when the atmosphere was electric.
"When this place is full, if you're a recruit, you parachute in here and this place is jammed and the student section is jammed and the freakin' band's going crazy," he said, "what better place is there to play college hockey? It makes it a little easier to recruit."
The son of a paper mill worker in northern New Hampshire, Gendron played baseball and hockey at New England College in Henniker, N.H., and spent a few collegiate summers working in Portland -- lugging cobblestones for an Old Port repaving project, mixing mortar and assisting masons in the construction of a brick bank -- while competing in the baseball Twilight League. He's not afraid of work and has plenty ahead of him.
"I'm really excited," said goalie Martin Ouellette. "We're very excited to start working with him and come back next year, and start winning games."
Junior Mark Anthoine drove to Orono from his home in Lewiston for the introduction.
"He's a really down-to-earth guy and he seems like a pretty tough, competitive coach," Anthoine said, "someone who's going to push you every day."
Junior Brice O'Connor, like many of the players, came away impressed with Gendron's passion.
"You can see it in the way he talks about Maine hockey," O'Connor said. "But on top of it is his qualifications. He's had success at all levels. He finds a way to win championships, and that's what we set out for here at Maine. I'm excited because he obviously has the tools to get us there."
When asked about assistant coaches, Gendron said everyone is in play, including current assistants Corkum and Dan Kerluke.
Asked about the possibility of Stanbrook reuniting with him in Orono, Gendron smiled.
"If Grant wants to be involved," he said, "Grant can have the keys to the castle."
Reached by phone earlier, Stanbrook had this to say about his former colleague:
"His passion for hockey is exceeded only by his passion for Maine hockey."
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:
CORRECTION: This story was revised at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 to reflect the correct spelling of coach Grant Standbrook's name.
click image to enlarge
Dennis "Red" Gendron, left, gestures animatedly during a news conference Tuesday at the University of Maine in Orono where he was introduced as the new men's hockey coach by Athletic Director Steve Abbott, right.