June 19, 2018
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Former Bangor hockey coach admits knowing player urinated into container on bus, says practice wasn’t uncommon

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Denis Collins prepares for a summer hockey clinic in 2005. Collins, Bangor High School’s head hockey coach resigned after an incident during the team’s bus trip to Presque Isle and back Tuesday, Dec. 11.
By Larry Mahoney, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Former Bangor High School hockey coach Denis Collins, who resigned last week after an incident on a recent bus trip to Presque Isle, admitted Saturday he was aware a player had urinated into a jug on the bus.

Collins further offered that, in his experience, players urinating into a small container on bus trips is nothing new.

“Last year, on seven of our 10 trips, I found bottles of urine while I cleaned up the bus after the trip,” said Collins.

Collins explained that on Dec. 11, 10 minutes before the team reached the Northern Maine Forum in Presque Isle, some players stood up in the back of the bus and he noticed that one of them urinated into a jug. Collins said he told the player to stop and informed the team that wasn’t acceptable behavior.

He said the individual was surrounded by other team members, so the one female on the team, who sits up front, didn’t see anything.

Collins, who last week told the BDN he wasn’t aware of the situation, said he cleaned up the mess.

Collins, who has been replaced by former assistant Quinn Paradis, said he met Friday with Bangor Superintendent of Schools Betsy Webb to discuss the situation.

He said the meeting proved fruitless and he doesn’t expect to regain his job, nor does he anticipate seeking legal counsel.

“There was no resolution and the meeting ended abruptly,” Collins said.

He had asked to talk with Webb soon after a Monday meeting with Bangor High principal Paul Butler and athletic director Steve Vanidestine.

Webb agreed to the meeting.

Collins said the Monday meeting led to his resignation, although resigning wasn’t his intention.

He had met with Butler and Vanidestine the previous Friday (Dec. 14) and offered his resignation but they rejected it pending their investigation into the incident.

“They told me to man-up and to not abandon the players,” said Collins, who was in his third season at Bangor High and was the Eastern Maine Class A coach of the year last season.

He took that mindset into Monday’s meeting and hoped to retain his job.

“I [eventually] stood up and asked if I had been fired. They told me I hadn’t been and asked me to stay and discuss the issue,” said Collins.

However, as the discussion moved along, Collins said it became obvious to him that resigning was his best and only option.

“The [negative] environment led me to resign,” said Collins, who preferred not to comment on what was said at the Monday meeting.

He nonetheless wanted to explain his side of the story to Webb and to get a feel for whether she thought the investigation was handled properly and if he had been treated fairly.

“Denis has already shared beyond what I can share because I’m bound by confidentiality,” said Butler. “I will confirm that Denis did offer his resignation, [Vanidestine] and I deliberated and consulted over the weekend and, as Denis said, it was determined that it was best for all of us to accept his resignation.”

The incident in question was preceded by a comment made by Collins a few days before the bus trip, a comment for which he was later reprimanded.

Due to the tight time schedule that required the team to leave Bangor at 1:15 p.m. for a game that was moved from 5 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., he explained he had joked that it appeared as though it was going to be a “pee jug” trip for the team. He told them there wouldn’t be a bathroom stop on the way up.

Collins didn’t want the team to risk being assessed a two-minute bench minor penalty for being late to the game.

Shortly before the team arrived in Presque Isle, Collins admitted, he became aware of the urination incident.

He said at no time on the three-plus-hour trip up to the game or on the way home did any of his players ask him if they could stop the bus for a rest stop.

Bangor, which beat Brunswick 5-4 on Saturday, has a 4-0 record this season.

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