Former UMass hockey assistant coach Red Gendron dies unexpectedly at 63

  • GENDRON Robert F. Bukaty

Associated Press
Published: 4/9/2021 8:19:23 PM

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine hockey coach Red Gendron died unexpectedly Friday, the school announced. He was 63.

The Boston native, who took over coaching the Black Bears in 2013, died after suffering a medical emergency, university officials said.

“Words cannot express our deep sadness from the tragic, sudden loss of Red Gendron,” athletic director Ken Ralph said. “Our community and the entire UMaine athletics family mourn the loss of Coach Gendron.”

Maine’s best season under Gendron ended early when the coronavirus pandemic struck in March 2020. The team had an 18-11-5 record before the Hockey East playoffs were canceled. He was a finalist that year for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the nation’s top coach.

Gendron held many coach positions over his career and was an assistant with the New Jersey Devils in 1994-95 when they won the Stanley Cup. He also served as coach of the Indiana Ice and Albany River Rats.

He came to Maine after serving as assistant coach at UMass and associate coach at Harvard. Gendron joined UMass’ staff in 2005 and was on staff for the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth in 2007.

“He recruited a ton of real high-end hockey payers still in the NHL to UMass. On a personal level, Red, more than any coach in Hockey East really reached out to me and took me in when I came into the league. We had a real nice friendship. We saw a lot of each other in each other. When we played against Maine, you knew it was going to be good, old time, hard hockey,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “He was good for college hockey. He was a big, loving personality and when he walked into the room, the energy went to him. He cared about people and he treated people really well. He will be missed.”

University President Joan Ferrini-Mundy said the campus was “shocked and saddened” by Gendron’s sudden death.

“He was a force in UMaine Athletics and in the legacy of our men’s ice hockey program,” she said. “We mourn his passing and remember his many contributions to the generations of players he mentored and to the program that lit up Black Bear Nation and the state of Maine.”

Staff writer Kyle Grabowski contributed to this report.

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