BANGOR, Maine — When he was the hockey coach at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, Gene Fadrigon had the pleasure of coaching his grandson Tyler Fadrigon.
Now he will be coaching with his grandson.
He was an assistant coach before taking over as the head coach for the 2008-09 season.
The 66-year-old Fadrigon is returning for his second stint as the head coach at John Bapst and his 20-year-old grandson will be one of his full-time assistants along with Josh Lander.
“It’s cool because he’s a student of the game,” said Gene Fadrigon. “When he played for me, it was like having another coach on the ice.”
He also said they have worked hockey clinics together.
“He’s just about a natural [coach],” said Gene. “If he sees somebody doing something wrong, he’s not afraid to get down and show them how to do it. He’s real good at it.”
“It’s going to be a great experience, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Tyler Fadrigon, a junior at the University of Maine majoring in economics. “[Gene] always had a real passion for the game. I’ll be learning from the best.”
Tyler Fadrigon, who played for his grandfather’s John Bapst team in 2008-09, sees himself developing players on the ice and also preparing them to be successful in life.
And he said there are two common denominators.
“Hard work and discipline,” he said.
In his last stint at John Bapst, Gene Fadrigon guided the 2008-09 team to a 16-2 record and its first top seed for the Eastern Maine Class B tournament. But the Crusaders lost to Presque Isle in the semifinals.
Fadrigon, who guided Old Town to four EM Class B titles and two state titles during his 15-year career there, returned to Old Town as an assistant two years ago but didn’t coach last season.
“I’m really excited about getting going on Monday,” said Fadrigon, who inherits a team that had a nice bump last year under Greg Stone, going 6-12 after a 1-14-3 campaign two years ago.
Stone’s contract wasn’t renewed.
“I like the teaching part. I really enjoy practices and preparing for an opponent,” said Fadrigon.
He said he has been “really lucky over the years,” getting the opportunity to work hockey camps with coaches such as the late Shawn Walsh, former University of Maine coach; longtime Maine assistant Grant Standbrook; and Nate Leaman, head coach at Providence College.
“I was also exposed to Russian coaches and Canadian coaches,” he said. “I’ve learned from some of the best hockey minds around.”