John Bapst High School hockey coach Gene Fadrigon wasn’t behind the bench for Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Waterville because he is recuperating from a broken bone in his shoulder.
He was injured Jan. 29 when he fell behind the bench during a game against Maranacook/Winthrop at the Kents Hill rink. It happened just before the start of the second period.
“The kids were standing up and I was walking behind the bench toward my other coaches. It was wet and my foot went out from under me and I fell between the bench and the players,” explained Fadrigon. “I landed on my right shoulder but my left shoulder wound up behind me and it hit the bench.”
He experienced excruciating pain.
Fadrigon was evaluated by the EMTs and his doctor, Dr. Susan Cheff, who was on hand to watch her son Jonathan play.
He remained in the locker room for the remainder of the game and went to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after they returned home from the game.
John Bapst lost 3-2 in overtime.
The 68-year-old Fadrigon said he has been told by Dr. David Carmack that if his shoulder heals properly, it won’t require surgery. But he has to stay immobilized and keep his arm in a sling.
Assistant coaches Tyler Fadrigon, his grandson, and Tony Reese will coach the team in his absence.
Fadrigon hopes to return to the bench before the end of the regular season or for the playoffs if they qualify. He said he is gradually getting better.
He said he feels comfortable with his grandson and Reese coaching the team and he is in constant communication with them.
“We’re all on the same wavelength,” said Fadrigon.
Fadrigon began his high school coaching career at Old Town and led his teams to four Eastern Maine Class B championships and two state titles. He was a five-time Eastern Maine Class B coach of the year.
He retired after the 1997-98 season which was his 15th at Old Town.
He eventually returned to assist Aaron King at John Bapst High for two seasons, during which the Crusaders went 28-13-1. After King resigned to move to North Carolina, Fadrigon took over and led the 2008-09 John Bapst team to its best season ever and its first top seed.
The Crusaders were upset by Presque Isle in the semifinals and wound up 16-3.
He resigned after that season due to negativity and meddling on behalf of a few parents but he missed coaching and returned to John Bapst for the 2011-12 season.
The Crusaders have made the playoffs each of the last two years and are 7-7 with four games remaining.
John Bapst lost to Messalonskee of Oakland in last year’s EM Class B title game.