ORONO – For the past year, Denis Collins had spent the hockey season commuting more than an hour from Orono to Augusta, hoping to make it to his day job on time. With the early-hour practices at Alfond Arena (most of the time well before the sign would rise) mounting prior to his work day beginning, the stress began to take its toll. That’s why he’s stepping away from a role he was highly popular in.
Collins resigned this week as the head coach of the Old Town-Orono Black Bears, after back to back seasons of major success. The Black Bears made the Class B North title game last season before falling to Waterville in overtime, and won the state title this season in their quest for redemption.
“For me to go out on top like this is very satisfying,” Collins said Tuesday via phone. “It’s good, and the only regret I have now of resigning is to leave some of these kids. I feel like I’m abandoning the kids.” Despite this, he said he has received messages from the team and members of the community thanking him for his support.
He previously coached at Bangor before taking the Old Town-Orono job once the team became an official co-op program.