Maine Hockey Journal

Latendresse leaving Messalonskee

LEWISTON – Messalonskee boys’ hockey team will be looking for a new head coach to defend its Class B State Championship as Mike Latendresse announced that he has resigned from the post, in which he has held for the last 12 years, since 2001.

Latendresse, 43, has guided the Eagles to the top of the high school hockey in Maine over the last several years, including last season’s 21-0-0 record en route to claiming the Class B State Championship. Over the last three seasons, Messalonskee has gone 57-7-0 and have been in three consecutive Class B state title games – losing to twice to Greely in 2012 and 2013 during that span.

In addition to coaching the Eagles, Latendresse, who is co-owner of Joseph’s Sporting Good in Waterville, took a volunteer coaching job with the NCAA Division III men’s hockey team at Colby College that competes in New England Small College Athletic Conference with rival school Bowdoin College.

“I had been (at Messalonskee) for 12 years and after the season we had last year I thought the timing was right,” Latendresse said. “Plus, I also have some other opportunities that have come up to coach at a different level, which is not official yet. It will most likely be official in the next week or two.”

Yesterday, Colby College announced fellow assistant coach Chris Hall has accepted the head coaching position of the school’s golf team. In the press release they said he will also return for his third season where Hall serves as the recruiting coordinator for head coach Blaise MacDonald.

Latendresse said he always wanted to make that next step in his coaching career and go to the college game.

“I played at the (professional) level. I played Division I at the University of Maine,” he said. “I think I have known for a while (about moving on). I always will be interested in working and helping a team at that level. It was a matter of getting the right opportunity and being good for (my family and myself).”

Latendresse, who originally hails from Montreal, Quebec, played two seasons with the University of Maine Black Bears in 1992-1994. During the 1992-’93 season, he finished with 20 goals, 31 assists for 51 points, which tied him for fourth in team-scoring with Chris Ferraro en route to the Black Bears claims its first NCAA Division I national championship. His 39 points the following season led the team in scoring.

Latendresse now resides in Oakland after a four-year career in the ECHL where he had 122 goals and 138 assists in 265 games with the Toledo Storm, Birmingham Bulls and the Wheeling Nailers from 1994-98. He also had appeared in a two AHL contest with the Adirondack Red Wings and one game with the Detroit Vipers of the now defunct International Hockey League.

Latendresse said leaving Messalonskee wasn’t an easy decision.

“It was an emotional decision, it wasn’t an easy decision,” Latendresse. “I have had been there a long time and had a great connection with the school.”

His lasting memory will be all the players he coached over the last 12 years.

“It comes back to the players. The relationships you developed with those players and some of the guys I coached early in my career at Messalonskee that are now older,” Latendresse said. “You look back at the memories you made and relationships that I’ve developed with the players. That’s what so precious and at the same time makes the decision so hard too.”

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