He led Mount Saint Charles to 32 high school championships in more than 40 years behind the bench, and at age 92, Normand “Bill” Belisle died on Jan. 12 and left behind a lasting impact on Rhode Island and USA Hockey.
The school announced the Manville, R.I., native’s passing Wednesday night. His list of achievements in the sport as the longtime coach of the Mounties was long. He racked up 1,000 wins, and in his run of more than 30 state titles, led the school to 26 consecutive championships from 1978-2003. During his tenure, he had more than 20 players selected in the NHL draft, including a pair of first overall selections: Brian Lawton (1983) and Bryan Berard (1995). His career winning percentage was north of .800, an astounding figure when you factor in how many games he coached.
“It’s a sad day, but in all, celebrating his life is a wonderful thing,” Dave Capuano (Cranston, R.I.), his former player and an All-American at the University of Maine, told WPRI’s Taylor Begley after the news broke. “We remember so many things he taught us. Work ethic and discipline and values. For me, mostly, it’s all those things he taught me for a life lesson and I think a lot of his players would say the same thing.”
As head coach at Mount Saint Charles from 1975 through the 2019 season, Belisle was a member of the U.S. and Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame. He leaves behind four sons, including Dave, who joined him behind the bench for several decades and helped build the program. Another son, Pete, is the head coach at UMass-Boston. Belisle’s wife of 66 years, Yvette, passed away in December 2019.