WOONSOCKET — Mount St. Charles Academy hockey coach Bill Belisle, class of ‘48, passed away on January 13 at the age of 92.
Belisle began coaching at Mount St. Charles Academy in 1975 and has celebrated numerous accomplishments during his 42 seasons, including several NHL draft picks, a 26-year championship streak between 1978 and 2003, and in Nov. 2016, his induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. He is the only high school hockey coach in the country to have achieved 1,000 wins.
Mount Saint Charles, in a statement, said that Belisle’s impact on the Academy cannot be measured and that his coaching style and knowledge of the game propelled players to reach further and push to the next level in all arenas of life.
“Personally, I remember Bill from my time as a student, then as a teacher and coach, and again when I returned to Mount as president,” said Alan Tenreiro, president of Mount Saint Charles Academy. “He was always there as a guide and was an exceptional mentor to students and staff, and to family and friends. The world has lost one of its greatest coaches, and Mount will feel the loss for decades to come.”
In a 2016 interview with Rhode Island Catholic, his son Dave Belisle recalled the championship game of 2004, and the speech his father gave to the team after losing the game and conceding their championship streak to Toll Gate High School that demonstrated what Coach Belisle is all about.
“This is my proudest moment as a hockey coach,” Dave remembers his father saying. “It’s easy to win, but in order to be a champion, you got to know how to lose. This is the most important day.”
Memories and messages of sympathy have poured in on the Mount Saint Charles Facebook page, many describing Belisle as “legendary.”
“His legacy will continue through everyone who has been lucky enough to spend time with him,” Cat Moro said.
“A true gentleman of the rink,” said Ron Daigneault. “Thank you for all you did for our community. My condolences to his family.”
“Prayers to his many family and friends along with the entire Mount community,” said Mike Cournoyer. “I was fortunate to know him since the day I was born. Rest easy Coach. Heaven gained a great one!”
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