Red Gendron

Posted by: BearDown on Wed Apr 14th, 2021 12:59 pm
parquetfloor wrote:

Oh, I fully understood what you were saying. And it was not accurate at all. But thanks for calling my response condescending and me a dumbass. You`re pretty awesome. Undecided

Athletic department trainers are not hired to become the primary care physicians of the coaching staff. Plain and simple. Do they help them when they aren`t feeling well or wonder if they did something to their hamstring, absolutely! Do they recommend a form of treatment if they can figure out what is wrong? Again, absolutely. 

But the trainers` job is to take care of the student-athletes, esp in regards to athletically related injuries. They watch over their programs (which includes the coaching staff) but it isn`t their job to become a primary care physician, which they aren`t even doctors to begin with.

And what does 42 years of health care work have to do with the relationship between a trainer and a coach. I have had a lot of collegiate athletic department experience so I kinda know how all that works. I read your "drivel", so you can certainly read mine.

Not sure why you have to turn to namecalling and other BS but whatever. Sounds a lot like "get off my lawn".

By the way, my response was more towards BearDown that seems to think the trainers are the PCP`s for the coaching staff. All the people I have worked with, that is not the case. Everyone has a PCP that they go to off campus, that is an actual doctor. 

*You mean gobearsgo. Not BearDown. Apology accepted.

Posted by: parquetfloor on Wed Apr 14th, 2021 1:28 pm

You are 100% correct. My apologies for sure. I saw your post after his response. Thank you for pointing that out.

Posted by: fafan on Thu Apr 15th, 2021 10:39 am

This was a beautiful article from the Athletic about Red Gendron. I wish we had been exposed to this side of Red more often, would have made it easier to understand there is alot more to life than W`s & L`s.

The texts did not make sense. Thirty or 40, which is 30 or 40 more than he usually receives, had accumulated on Ken Swayman’s phone while he was playing hockey in his 50-and-over league. He couldn’t comprehend their content. Most of the messages, circulated among a chain of University of Maine hockey parents, read, “RIP Red.”

So on the morning of April 9, Swayman called his son. Jeremy Swayman confirmed the news. Red Gendron, the goalie’s coach at Maine for three seasons, was dead. He was 63.

“Red’s gone. Red’s gone,” the son said.

Jeremy Swayman was in Philadelphia. Ken Swayman was in Anchorage. Father and son, separated by the length of a continent, cried over the death of their friend.

“My heart was broken,” Ken Swayman said. “It still is.”

Four days later, Jeremy Swayman, the Bruins’ fourth-round pick in 2017, played at TD Garden for the first time as an NHLer. In the shootout, Swayman turned back Victor Olofsson and Tage Thompson. At the other end, Jake DeBrusk followed up Charlie Coyle’s goal to seal a 3-2 win for the Bruins.

Swayman looked up at the Garden ceiling for several seconds. Then he pointed to the sky.

“That was a pretty special moment,” said the rookie, now 3-1-0 with a 2.22 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. “I know I wasn’t alone out there. It was pretty emotional at the end.”

A perfect fit

Orono, Maine quite literally, is on the other end of America as Anchorage, Swayman’s hometown. If Swayman had wanted to attend a school farther east, it would have been underwater.

Heavyweight programs closer to home wanted Swayman: Minnesota, Denver, Colorado College. The University of Alaska-Anchorage — the program for which his father, an Anchorage doctor, once volunteered his services — came calling.

After meeting Gendron, Swayman had no other choice.

In October of 2016, Swayman was playing for Sioux Falls in the USHL. Ken and wife Terese were visiting. Gendron needed a goalie. He saw his opening.

On Oct. 15, Maine concluded a Friday-Saturday series against Quinnipiac at Alfond Arena. That night, Gendron flew to Sioux Falls. He met the 17-year-old goalie and his family the following day.

They talked over a Sunday lunch. The conversation flowed around history, travel, philosophy and family. Hockey was a small slice of the chatter.

Finally, Gendron asked Swayman the critical question.

“So what do you think, son?” Gendron asked.

“I just want to be your goalie,” Swayman answered.

Ken Swayman was delighted. He was taken with Gendron.

Father and son have been close for life. Jeremy, not even a year old, sat on Ken’s back at Alaska-Anchorage games. As a teenager, Jeremy paced the trails of Anchorage next to his dad.

If Maine were to be the 17-year-old’s destination, their relationship would change just by the reality of continental separation. In that way, Ken Swayman wanted a mentor and a community and a family for his son, more so than the gilding of a bells-and-whistles facility or trophies from past accomplishments.

“This is the guy,” Ken Swayman recalled thinking of Gendron. “This is the guy.”

His son’s decision aligned. Swayman thrived at Maine from 2017 to 2020, when he turned pro after his junior year. He made 100 appearances over three seasons.

Swayman earned the experience, as Gendron always said, that one cannot buy at Target. Three seasons of workhorse puck stopping would serve as the foundation for a starry first pro season (8-1-0, 1.89 GAA, .933 save percentage in Providence) that will continue for Swayman on Thursday, in all likelihood, as Tuukka Rask’s backup.

Under Gendron’s watch, Swayman continued to grow into the thoughtful and respectful 22-year-old he’s become. After the shootout victory, Swayman made sure to mention Jan, Gendron’s wife, and his two daughters.

“I loved Red,” Swayman said, coughing to catch his voice. “I loved Red so much. The things he taught me, I’ll have for the rest of my life. My heart reaches out to Jan and Katie and Allison. It’s a beautiful family that I consider my own. I’m just so grateful for the experiences I had with him. He’s definitely going to be a role model for the rest of my life.”

Playing for Red

Kevin Dean and Jay Pandolfo were shaken. Dean was a New Jersey defenseman from 1994 to 1996 when Gendron was an assistant to Jacques Lemaire. Pandolfo spent his first two pro years playing for Gendron in Albany, New Jersey’s AHL affiliate.

Bruce Cassidy saw how hard his assistants, 52 and 46, respectively, took the news on the day of Gendron’s death. The Bruins coach assured his 22-year-old goalie he was not obligated to make his scheduled start the following day against Philadelphia.

Swayman said he was in.

“I know what he would want me to do. That would be to go out and play my game and have fun doing it,” Swayman said on Tuesday. “That’s what I tried to do today. That’s what I try to do every day. I want to do everything I can to honor him and continue his legacy. Because he would do the same thing. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Merit Waldrop was watching from Anchorage. Waldrop, one of Swayman’s youth coaches, was not surprised his ex-pupil declined to take his option.

“I don’t see him as a kid who’s going to hold his head down and be upset,” Waldrop said. “He’s more like, ‘No, I’m going to make you proud.’”

Ken Swayman connected with Gendron. During his visits to Orono, the two regularly chatted in Gendron’s office. Gendron was the kind of guy who knew everything, from the most beautiful trails in Acadia National Park to the best lobster shacks. The elder Swayman slept well with the knowledge that a good man was watching over his son.

It’s Jeremy Swayman’s turn now to do the same with Gendron. He left a legacy of kindness, caring and belief. Swayman intends to share it.

“No matter how he felt, he would always have a smile on his face,” Swayman said. “It was honestly incredible. He always knew what to say, even in the most trying times. It’s something I want to try to continue to honor him. If I could teach someone else what he taught me, I think that would be a pretty incredible gift.

Posted by: ExpoEddie on Thu Apr 15th, 2021 11:53 am

There have been some unbelievable moving posts on MBR.  Thank you fafan for posting the best I have ever read.  I had a lump in my throat while reading.

I never got this understanding during Red`s interviews live on the BigJab.  Sure wish I had this perspective before, not after.  Thanks again.

Posted by: ExpoEddie on Thu Apr 15th, 2021 11:54 am

And apologize for a negative post under a respective string for Red. 

Posted by: mainejeff on Thu Apr 15th, 2021 1:21 pm

Beautiful article, fafan...thanks for posting!

Posted by: turkeyman on Thu Apr 15th, 2021 1:46 pm

  More of a UMaine fan than a hockey fan, but none of the outpouring of grief and admiration for Red Gendron surprises me. I had heard many of these things from other coaches who were in daily contact with him.

  Like others on here, I wondered at the difference between the W-L record and the person I had heard about. Maybe the record had more to do with the facility and the university`s support than we realized. And maybe it has more to do with the shifting of DI hockey power away from Hockey East and toward other conferences. 

  At any rate, wonderful article in The Athletic, but a terrible and sad reason to have to write it. 

  Bob Neal, New Sharon

Posted by: parquetfloor on Fri Apr 16th, 2021 7:17 pm

fafan, thank you very much for that article. Couldn`t help but get a little teary-eyed reading that. 

Posted by: turkeyman on Sat Apr 17th, 2021 1:12 pm

  As one who writes for (very, very little) pay, I have to weigh in a bit on dunbar`s side. If we want sites like The Athletic and The New York Times and the Sun Journal to continue, we need to support them and respect their boundaries.

  That said, I believe dunbar could have started an OT thread to express his respect for writers and publishers. That would have kept the Red Gendron thread on topic and respectful of the late coach.

  All things in their place.

  Bob Neal, New Sharon