Woonsocket Call

Belisle reflects on changes

Mount coach ready for new role with program

- By BRANDEN MELLO bmello@woonsocket­call.com

Mountie coach looks forward to program future

WOONSOCKET — Veteran Mount St. Charles coach Dave Belisle played a key role in the program’s 26-year state title run and decade-long stretch as the No. 1 team in the nation, but Belisle concedes “it’s time” he and his father, U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer, Bill Belisle, take a step back and allow the program to go in a different direction.

Thursday, Mount St. Charles announced the hiring of the architects of the South Kent School’s national champion U18 Selects program, Matt Plante, Devin Rask and Scott Gainey, to bring their winning formula to a program that hasn’t won a state title

“I’m definitely pleased with the direction the hockey program is going. That’s the story. I’m excited to be involved. This is a good step for the Mount St. Charles program and a return to excellence.” — Mount coach Dave Belisle

since 2014.

“We knew our last year would have to come sooner than later,” Belisle said Friday morning. “My dad is celebratin­g his 88th birthday, but he’s accomplish­ed everything he can, so why not go out on top and go out knowing the program is alive and will always be attached this name? We knew at some point he would retire, so this year is definitely going to be special for this group of kids. They’ll be excited to play for Coach.”

“My dad took over the program [in 1976] and helped build that arena with Brother Adelard and built the program back to what it once was, now it’s time for three enthusiast­ic young men to help bring it back to its prominence. I couldn’t be more happy than that.”

Bill Belisle, who has won over 1,000 games is his 40-plus-year career at the Logee Street school, will take on a coaching emeritus role once the 2018-19 Interschol­astic League campaign comes to an end. Dave Belisle’s role, as was noted in the school’s press release, will be decided by the new leadership group at a later date.

If it’s up to Belisle, he’ll still be involved in the day-to-day coaching of kids – no matter the age group and no matter the sport. Belisle, who coached Cumberland American to the 2011 and 2014 Little League World Series, said he’s interested in helping the school in any way he can.

“There’s so much to be determined, but I have lot to give,” said Belisle, whose youngest son, John, will be a junior forward this season. “I’m definitely pleased with the direction the hockey program is going. That’s the story. I’m excited to be involved. This is a good step for the Mount St. Charles program and a return to excellence. With where hockey is going, this was the right direction to go. These guys are young and have great ideas.

“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years and I still have so much more to give, I’m not going to stop. I love coaching kids. I still want be involved with the program, whether it’s at the youth level or another level.”

Belisle actually came across Mount’s new braintrust in 2013 when his son, former Mount All-State forward Brian Belisle, was deciding whether to spend a year at prep school or go right to college. Even though Brian Belisle opted to go to Connecticu­t College to play hockey, Belisle said he was impressed with what Plante, Rask and Gainey were beginning to build in Connecticu­t.

All the trio has done in the last six years is turn South Kent into a national power with a trio of National Select teams. The U18 team won the USA Hockey national title in the winter and the U16 and U15 teams also reached the national tournament. South Kent graduate Joel Farabee was selected No. 14 in this summer’s NHL Draft by the Philadelph­ia Flyers.

“It’s new and it’s fresh, so it’s going to take time for everybody to adjust, but this is an unbelievab­le step in the right direction,” said Belisle, who is currently in Bristol, Conn. calling the Little League New England and Mid-Atlantic regional tournament­s for ESPN. “I’m ecstatic for the program and I’m ecstatic to still be involved. There’s no doubt about it, it’s all good. They young men the school is hiring have reached out to my father and I and they have been nothing but supportive and they want to carry on the tradition. They said they want to hand my father a national championsh­ip trophy.”

While Belisle’s long-tern future with the program he’s been a part of for over 40 years isn’t clear, the next seven months will be business as usual. The Belisles will be on the Adelard Arena ice a few days after Thanksgivi­ng to start practice for the upcoming season.

Mount returns nearly every player who was on the ice in March when Smithfield bounced the Mounties in the Division I quarterfin­als. Belisle hopes Mount can make one more run to Brown’s Meehan Auditorium in March to end his father’s career the way most of his seasons have ended – holding the state title.

“My father and I will still be coaching this year and the boys are excited,” Belisle said. “I’m proud of everything my father and I have accomplish­ed and we’re still going to be coaching the program this year. I will do whatever is best for the program and the school.”

 ??  ??
 ?? File photo by Ernest A. Brown ?? Dave Belisle will take a new role in the Mount St. Charles hockey program after the school hired Matt Plante, Devin Rask and Scott Gainey Thursday.
File photo by Ernest A. Brown Dave Belisle will take a new role in the Mount St. Charles hockey program after the school hired Matt Plante, Devin Rask and Scott Gainey Thursday.
 ?? File photo by Ernest A. Brown ?? This season will mark the final campaign on the bench for U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Belisle (right) and Dave Belisle (center) after the school announced changes to the program starting in the 2019-2020 school year.
File photo by Ernest A. Brown This season will mark the final campaign on the bench for U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Bill Belisle (right) and Dave Belisle (center) after the school announced changes to the program starting in the 2019-2020 school year.

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