Bangor - Dennis “Red” Gendron, 63, died unexpectedly April 9, 2021. He was born November, 27, 1957, in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Francis E. and Armeline (Jacques) Gendron.
Red graduated from Berlin High School, Class of 1975. Following graduation, he attended New England College, Class of 1979, where he received a bachelor’s degree in education.
He accepted his first teaching position at Berlin High School in 1979, where he also served as the assistant men’s ice hockey coach and assistant baseball coach for two years.
In 1981, Red married his soul mate, Janet Lacroix, and they settled in St. Albans, Vermont, when Red accepted a position as a history teacher and head men’s ice hockey coach at Bellows Free Academy. He led the Bobwhites to four state championships (1982, 1983, 1987, 1988) and was twice named Vermont Coach of the Year.
In 1990, Red accepted the assistant coach position with the University of Maine Men’s Ice Hockey program under head coach Shawn Walsh, helping the program to earn its first NCAA Division I Championship in 1993. While coaching full time, he also earned his master’s in education from UMaine in 1993.
Red began his 11-year tenure with the New Jersey Devils organization in 1993, first as the technological specialist for one season before being named an assistant coach in 1995. That same year, the Devils won their first, of what would become three, Stanley Cup Championships (1995, 2000, 2003). He served the Devils organization in several capacities – assistant and later head coach of the Albany River Rats – before moving on to a head coaching position with the Indiana Ice in 2004.
In 2005, Red returned to Division I college hockey when he was named an assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After six seasons with the Minutemen, he was named associate head coach at Yale University where he helped the institution to earn its first NCAA Division I Championship in 2013.
That same year, Red returned to the University of Maine to accept the position of head coach of the men’s ice hockey team with the single aim of honoring Shawn Walsh’s legacy. Red was integral to the establishment of the Grant Standbrook Maine Hockey Forever Fund, ensuring that the men’s ice hockey program could live in perpetuity. He was named Hockey East Coach of the Year in 2020.
Throughout his 42-year career, Red also served as an assistant coach for the World Junior Championships for Team USA (1993, 2001, 2002), as well as several U.S. Select 16 and 17 teams.
His book, “Coaching Hockey Successfully,” was published in 2002, and was used by USA Hockey as part of its Level IV Coaching Development Program for many years. Red was honored by USA Hockey with the Walter Yaciuk Award in 2006 for his “outstanding contribution and dedicated service to the USA Hockey Coaching Education Program.”
Red may have had an intense, furrow-browed game face and quest to win, but he was best known for his insatiable appetite for knowledge, his kindness, generosity, mentorship and commitment to family and friends. He dedicated his life both on and off the ice to a single code: “to live in the service of others”.
Red was known for his humor and “Red-isms” – simple one-liners about life, sportsmanship – and for his dedication to honor, family, and “doing things the right way.”
Surviving, in addition to his wife, are his daughters Katelyn Gendron of Boston, Massachusetts, and Allison Baysol of Scarborough, Maine, and her wife, Tara Baysol, his dogs Mya and Eli; his loving nephews Jason Lacroix and his son Cameron Lacroix of Laconia, N.H., Joel Lacroix of Berlin, N.H., and his son Jace Lacroix of Franklin, N.H., and Justin Lacroix and his wife Megan Lacroix of Langdon, N.H., and many more.
A private Celebration of Life will take place this month.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made by check to the University of Maine Foundation, please note in the memo line: for the Grant Standbrook Maine Hockey Forever Fund in memory of Red Gendron. Mail to the University of Maine Foundation, Buchanan Alumni House, Two Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792.