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Longtime high school hockey coach Bill Belisle dies

Mr. Belisle's teams won 26 consecutive state titles.ROBERT E KLEIN/Associated Press

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Bill Belisle, a Rhode Island high school hockey coach who led Mount Saint Charles Academy to 32 state championships in more than four decades at the helm and had more than 20 players drafted by NHL teams, died Wednesday, according to the school. He was 92.

The cause of death was not disclosed.

“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,” wrote Alan Tenreiro, president of the Catholic school in Woonsocket. “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."

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Normand “Bill" Belisle, a 1948 graduate of the school and a Korean War veteran, started as coach in 1975 and won 32 state titles, including 26 consecutive from 1978 until 2003. He retired in 2019.

Among his players drafted were Brian Lawton in 1983, the first American ever selected first overall, and Bryan Berard, the first overall pick in 1995.

Belisle, a member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame, leaves four sons and several grandchildren.