Norm Gagne made it official – he has likely coached his final hockey game.

The Auburn native and Edward Little’s boys hockey coach, who has led several teams for the past 50 years, told the Sun Journal earlier this month, and confirmed to WGME’s Dave Eid after Monday’s 6-0 loss in the Red Eddies’ regular-season finale to Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle, that he is retiring.

Gagne said it was time to call it a career.

“It’s a sad day for me in some ways because I have loved the game and I loved doing it,” Gagne said. “When you have been doing it as long as I have and been successful as I have, it’s hard to let go, is what I am saying.”

Gagne said after the game it hit him hard that it might be his last game. He only told the players when the game ended that he was retiring.

Gagne did say he thought the players knew before the game, with the rumors floating around that this season may be it for him.


Gagne, 78, said it’s also difficult for him to be on the ice during practices.

“My assistant coaches, I give them my coaching points and they have to do a lot of that on the ice because I have been wiped out on the ice a couple of times,” Gagne said. “It worries me that I am going to get killed out there with a kid losing an edge, knocking me over. That has happened to me three or four times at Edward Little. That bothered me. I didn’t want to end up breaking a hip or a leg.”

Edward Little athletic director Todd Sampson said Gagne is special.

“Norm Gagne is one of a kind,” Sampson said. “He’s a legend. Reached 800 wins last year, 50 years in coaching this year, and what he has meant to Maine hockey — he has been tremendous.”

Gagne has 812 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 as a club team in 1973-74. After the Maine Principals’ Association introduced Class B for the 1975-76 season, he led the Tigers to the state final, which they lost to Biddeford. He remained with Gardiner through the 1985-86 season before joining Waterville, where he coached through the 2003-04 season.


After a one-year stint at Gorham, he began coaching at Lewiston High School in 2005-06. He guided the Blue Devils to three straight Class A state championship appearances. Gagne moved to Scarborough for the 2008-09 season before joining his alma mater, 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.

Sampson said what makes Gagne a special coach isn’t the wins, titles or hall of fame honors, it’s what he’s trying to teach the kids away from the ice.

“The piece as an athletic director, he’s concerned about turning them into great young men,” Sampson said. “He’s concerned about the performing in the classroom, he’s concerned about their behavior in school, on the bus. Sometimes, it’s bigger than hockey for Norm. That has been his message since day one. As an AD, he takes care of those little things and it shows on the ice. It’s a sad day to see him go, but we are glad to have him as long as we did.”

With its win over Gagne’s Red Eddies on Monday, Windham/Westbrook/Bonny Eagle jumped over Edward Little for the eighth and final playoff spot in Class A.

However, the Heal points won’t be finalized until after the regular season, which ends on Saturday. The Trail Blazers, who still have one regular-season game remaining, have less than a five-point advantage over the Red Eddies.


Sampson hopes the math works itself out where Gagne and the Red Eddies have a playoff game.

“We hoped we could have taken care of it today with a win, but we will certainly need some help to get in,” Sampson said. “If we do, that will be great. If not, we will shake his hand, and with a smile on his face, for sure.”

Gagne said he enjoyed coaching the 2023-24 Edward Little team.

“I was really proud of the kids for what they did,” Gagne said. “They played their hearts out each and every game and we were competitive. When you look at the Falmouths, Lewistons, St. Dom’s, Bangor — we were right in those games.”

Comments are no longer available on this story