Champions: Ice Kings Win #43

This champion tale involves geography, math and religion.

French Canadian USA

From Wikipedia:

Approximately 900,000 French-Canadians emigrated to the United States in the period of 1840-1930 during the first wave of the Quebec diaspora. The vast majority of these francophones settled in the six New England states:Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as northern New York State.  Emigrants moved to states close to Quebec, particularly those bordering the province, because of their generally impoverished condition and lack of jobs as a result of a poor economy over-reliant on agriculture. Centers of the New England textile industry such as Lowell, MassachusettsManchester, New HampshireLewiston, Maine; and Woonsocket, Rhode Island were major destinations for Quebec labor.

Today Woonsocket, Rhode Island, aside from being home to CVS, has the 5th largest French Canadian population in the U.S. which accounts for approximately 1/4th the population.  When I was in high school, the number was closer to 80 percent.

Mount St. Charles

Mount Saint Charles Academy, is a Catholic high school in Woonsocket that dates back to 1924.  Its first hockey coach, Brother Adelard Beaudet, is credited as the founder of Rhode Island high school hockey.  Beaudet would return to his native Quebec every summer and return with promising recruits during the fall, leading Mount to 10 state championships and 2 national championships n 30 years as coach.  In 1963, Mount became the first high school to to build its own hockey rink, which they named in honor of Brother Adelard.  That’s right – they have their own arena and its intimidating.

My Freshman Year at LaSalle Academy, a rival Catholic high school, we faced Mount in the state championships.  We had won the last two years, including beating Mount the year before.  Mount won the series 2 games to 1, outscoring us 16-5.  That would be the first of Mount’s 26 consecutive championships (15 by sweeping the best of 3 series).

Over the past 36 years they have played in the finals every year but one and have won 31 times.  That includes this year’s sweep of LaSalle, who were the victim in 10 of the 26 consecutive championships, for their 43rd state championship (25 against LaSalle).  Through most of this period they were coached by one man  – Bill Belisle – who has an amazing career record of  904-129-32 through the conclusion of the 2010-11 season and is the nation’s winningest high school ice hockey coach by far.

Along the way, the school has produced NHL players such as:

The giants from Little Rhody have not gone unnoticed.  This is from a 1985 Sports Illustrated profile:

Belisle responded well to no pressure. The Mounties were 29-8-1 in his first season, and from 1976 through ’82 they won 94 straight Metropolitan A Division games en route to seven conference titles. Mount Saint Charles has been state champ since 1978 and, according to a poll by the National Sports News Service in Edina, Minn., national champion since 1980. While outscoring opponents 2,037 to 540, Belisle’s teams have won 272 games, lost 18 and tied five in nine seasons. Eighteen of his players have made first-team all-state. Five have been drafted by National Hockey League teams in the past two years, including Minnesota North Star Brian Lawton, who in ’83 became the first American in NHL history to be picked No. 1 in the draft.

That’s the latest news—that’s what everyone’s talking about. But there’s more, and better. Behind the discernible, provable facts of the country’s best, high school hockey team lies the legend. For this, one has to go way back to 1911. Brother Adelard Beaudet travels south from Quebec. He arrives in Rhode Island with a cross on his chest and a hockey stick over his shoulder. He is a missionary of dual purpose, coming to teach the children the way of the Lord and of the slap shot. Eventually he organizes the country’s first interscholastic hockey league, then coaches his youthful Mount Saint Charles team to national championships. Or so the legend goes.

But as with most legends, only some of it is fact: Adelard did help form one of the nation’s first youth leagues. Yes, his Mount Saint Charles teams were as good as any in the country, but they weren’t as youthful as you might imagine. The truth is. Brother Adelard was importing Canadian talent to Woonsocket. Adelard will tell you so, and he’s still around to do so. Last Feb. 5, his 100th birthday, was Brother Adelard Day throughout Rhode Island, and he received letters from President Reagan and Bobby Orr as well as plaques from Pope John Paul II and Jean Beliveau, patron saint of the Montreal Canadiens.

A New England High School Has All The Right Stuff For Hockey Legends

Sports Illustrated (Jan 21, 1985)

The nearly three-decade streak became the focus of the 2006 documentary, Ice Kings, described as:

The winds of change that blew over Boston and gave the Red Sox their first World Series win in eighty-six years first passed through Rhode Island. In March of 2004, Toll Gate High School upset Mount Saint Charles Academy’s men’s ice hockey team and pushed them off the state championship throne they held for 26 years, the longest consecutive championship streak in national high school sports history. And in a state where hockey is as important as football is in Texas, the win immediately became legend. At Mount St. Charles, 75-year-old head coach Bill Belisle and his assistant coach and son Dave Belisle owned the state title since the Carter Administration. The legendary program, set deep in the French Canadian area of Woonsocket, RI, is the greatest high school sports program in history. The Mount has produced some of the NHL’s best: Garth Snow, Brian Berard, Keith Carney, Mathieu Schneider, and Brian Lawton. In telling the story of the Mount, we pay homage to these, and all the great.


State Boys Ice Hockey Championship Results

1932-33 Mount St. Charles (10-1-3) Beat Cranston (Now Cranston East): 3-2

1933-34 Mount St. Charles (13-0-1) Beat La Salle: 0-0, 1-0

1934-35 Mount St. Charles (14-0) Beat La Salle (11-3): total goals scored in two games: 4-0

1935-36 Hope Beat Mount St. Charles (14-0): 4-4, 3-1

1936-37 Cranston Beat Mount St. Charles (13-0-1): 1-0

1937-38 Mount St. Charles (9-2-3) Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 1 (M 2-0, L 2-1, M 2-1)

1938-39 Mount St. Charles (14-0) Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 0 (2-0, 5-1)

1939-40 Mount St. Charles (14-0) Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 0 (2-0, 2-0)

1940-41 Cranston (7-3) Beat La Salle (7-1-2)

1941-42 Mount Saint Charles (9-1) Beat Burrillville: 2 Games to 1 (M 2-1, B 5-2, M 2-1 OT)

1942-43 La Salle Beat Hope

1943-44 Burrillville Beat East Providence

1944-45 Mount Saint Charles (9-0) Beat La Salle (7-2): 2 Games to 0 (5-4, 7-1)

1945-46 Mount Saint Charles (8-1) Beat Hope: 2 Games to 1 (H 3-2, M 5-3, M 4-3 3OT)

1946-47 Mount Saint Charles (7-1-1) Beat Burrillville: 2 Games to 0 (3-1, 2-0)

1947-48 Burrillville (0 losses) Beat East Providence

1948-49 Burrillville (0 losses) Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 0 (2-1, 3-2)

1949-50 La Salle Beat Burrillville: 2 Games to 0 (4-2, 3-2)

1950-51 Burrillville Beat Hope

1951-52 Burrillville Beat La Salle

1952-53 Burrillville Beat Hope

1953-54 La Salle Beat Burrillville: 2 Games to 0 (5-1, 3-2)

1954-55 Burrillville Beat Woonsocket: 2 Games to 1 (B 2-0, W 1-0, B 3-1)

1955-56 Hope Beat Burrillville:

1956-57 Burrillville Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 0 (2-0, 2-1)

1957-58 Burrillville Beat La Salle

1958-59 Burrillville Beat Hope: 2 Games to 1 (H 3-0, B 4-3, B 2-1)

1959-60 Hope Beat Burrillville: 2 Games to 0 (4-1, 2-1)

1960-61 Hope Beat La Salle (14-2): 2 Games to 0 (4-3, 4-0)

1961-62 Burrillville Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 1 (L 3-1, B 3-2, B 3-1)

1962-63 Burrillville Beat Hope: 2 Games to 0 (8-1, 4-1)

1963-64 Cranston East Beat La Salle

1964-65 La Salle (13-4-1) Beat Cranston East (17-1)

1965-66 Cranston East Beat Burrillville (10-7-1): 2 Games to 0 (3-0, 6-1)

1966-67 Cranston East Beat La Salle

1967-68 Mount Saint Charles (15-2) Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 1, 1 Tie (M 2-1 OT, 4-4, L 5-3, M 3-1)

1968-69 Cranston East Beat Mount St. Charles (11-2-1): 2 Games to 0, 1 Tie (5-1, 3-3, 3-0)

1969-70 Mount Saint Charles (19-2) Beat Cranston East2 Games to 0 (5-4, 5-1) (See Note Below)

1970-71 Burrillville Beat La Salle

1971-72 Mount Saint Charles (17-2-2) Beat Burrillville2 Games to 0 (2-1, 6-4)

1972-73 Burrillville Beat East Providence2 Games to 0 (6-5 OT, 3-1)

1973-74 Cranston West (20-3) Beat Burrillville (12-10-1)2 Games to 0 (6-5, 7-4)

1974-75 East Providence Beat Burrillville

1975-76 La Salle Beat Burrillville

1976-77 La Salle Beat Mount St. Charles: 2 Games to 1 (L Won Game 1, M Won Game 2, L 4-2)

1977-78 Mount Saint Charles (22-0) Beat La Salle (18-4): 2 Games to 1 (M 8-2, L 2-1, M 7-1)

1978-79 Mount Saint Charles (16-0) Beat La Salle (10-6): 2 Games to 0 (5-2, 9-2)

1979-80 Mount Saint Charles (16-0) Beat East Providence (7-9): 2 Games to 0 (9-3, 4-3)

1980-81 Mount Saint Charles (21-0) Beat Hendricken (15-5-1): 2 Games to 0 (2-2, 5-3, 5-2)

1981-82 Mount Saint Charles (20-1) Beat Hendricken (17-4): 2 Games to 0 (6-3, 6-2)

1982-83 Mount Saint Charles (18-0) Beat Hendricken (12-6): 2 Games to 1 (M 6-1, H 4-3, M 4-1)

1983-84 Mount Saint Charles (14-2-2) Beat Cranston East (9-8-1): 2 Games to 0 (10-4, 7-1)

1984-85 Mount Saint Charles Beat Hendricken: 2 Games to 0 (2-1, 5-0)

1985-86 Mount Saint Charles (17-1) Beat Hendricken: 2 Games to 1 (M 4-3, H 6-2, M 6-2)

1986-87 Mount Saint Charles Beat Hendricken: 2 Games to 1 (H 2-1, M 5-3, M 3-2)

1987-88 Mount Saint Charles Beat Hendricken (13-2): 2 Games to 1, 2 ties (H 7-6, M 5-0, 4-4, 2-2, M 5-1)

1988-89 Mount Saint Charles (15-1-1) Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 0 (4-0, 9-2)

1989-90 Mount Saint Charles Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 0 (6-1, 4-2)

1990-91 Mount Saint Charles Beat La Salle (17-1): 2 Games to 1 (L 6-5, M 4-3 2OT, M 3-2)

1991-92 Mount Saint Charles (15-0) Beat Hendricken: 2 Games to 0 (6-0, 4-2)

1992-93 Mount Saint Charles (15-0) Beat La Salle: 2 Games to 0 (5-3, 10-1)

1993-94 Mount Saint Charles (14-0-1) Beat Hendricken (8-7): 2 Games to 0 (8-1, 8-4)

1994-95 Mount Saint Charles (13-2) Beat Hendricken (10-3-2): 2 Games to 1 (H 2-1, M 2-0, M 3-1)

1995-96 Mount Saint Charles (15-0) Beat Toll Gate (6-9): 2 Games to 1 (M 4-3 OT, T 3-0, M 5-2)

1996-97 Mount Saint Charles (14-0-1) Beat Toll Gate (7-7-1): 2 Games to 0 (5-2, 10-1)

1997-98 Mount Saint Charles (11-3-1) Beat Hendricken (10-5): 2 Games to 0 (2-1 OT, 5-0)

1998-99 Mount Saint Charles (11-4) Beat Hendricken (10-5): 2 Games to 1 (H 6-1, M 8-1, M 4-1)

1999-00 Mount Saint Charles (16-2) Beat La Salle (17-1): 2 Games to 0 (4-2, 2-1)

2000-01 Mount Saint Charles (18-0) Beat La Salle (12-6): 2 Games to 1 (L 2-1, M 3-2 OT, M 6-3)

2001-02 Mount Saint Charles (17-1) Beat La Salle (15-3): 2 Games to 0 (6-1, 6-2)

2002-03 Mount Saint Charles (17-1) Beat La Salle (14-4): 2 Games to 1 (L 3-2, M 3-1, M 5-3)

2003-04 Toll Gate (11-4-1) Beat Mount St. Charles (13-3): 2 Games to 0 (4-3, 4-0)

2004-05 Toll Gate (9-7) Beat Hendricken (7-9): 2 Games to 0 (3-0, 9-1)

2005-06 Hendricken (17-0) Beat Mount St. Charles (11-5-1): 2 Games to 0 (4-0, 5-1)

2006-07 Hendricken (16-0-1) Beat Mount St. Charles (11-5-1): 2 Games to 1 (M 3-0, H 4-3, H 1-0)

2007-08 Mount Saint Charles (14-0-2) Beat Hendricken (12-3-1): 2 Games to 0 (4-2, 4-3)

2008-09 Mount St. Charles (16-1-1) Beat Hendricken (15-2-1): 2 Games to 0 (4-3 OT, 5-4 3OT)

2009-10 Mount St. Charles (17-0-1) Beat La Salle (5-10-3): 2 Games to 0 (4-3 OT, 5-2)

2010-11 Mount St. Charles (16-1-1) Beat Hendricken (14-3-1): 2 Games to 0 (5-4, 7-2)

2011-12 Hendricken (14-3-1) Beat Mount St. Charles (13-5): 2 Games to 1 (H 4-3 OT, M 3-2, H 5-2)

2012-13 Mount St. Charles (14-4) Beat La Salle (9-8-1): 2 Games to 0 (7-0, 5-2)

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