Remi Gentes, a true gentleman known for his soft heart and dedication, is ending a 35-year association with high school hockey in Sault Ste. Marie.
A long-time coach with the erstwhile Lakeway Trojans and the venerable Sir James Dunn Eagles as well as the Superior Heights Steelhawks, Gentes recently advised Hockey News North that he is retiring as the convenor of the local high school loop.
A retired educator who taught high school French, Gentes was born and raised in Quebec before moving to the Sault.
Now 63 years of age, Gentes told Hockey News North that “it is time to step aside. This won’t be easy for me but I want to have more time with my family. I think 35 years of involvement (with high school hockey) is pretty good.”
With his wife, Kirsten, nearing retirement, Gentes is looking forward to spending more time with her, their three children and six grandchildren.
All three of the Gentes offspring have two kids of their own. Son Mathieu has Brayden and Charlyse, daughter Marie-Andree has Jade and Onyx and daughter Annie has Lilianne and Cedric.
Mathieu and his family and Marie-Andree and her family all live in the Ottawa suburb of Orleans while Annie and her family reside in the Sault.
Among the many good memories that Gentes has of his high school hockey association, there is also a sad, tragic one.
That happened back on February 28, 2010 when one of his top players with the aforementioned Sir James Dunn Eagles, Matt Howard, was struck and killed by a vehicle when walking home.
A high school hockey award, the Matt Howard Memorial Trophy, has since been established and annually goes to the local high school hockey player who, like Matt did, has a great passion for the game and equal respect for his coaches, teammates, opponents and referees.
“He was such a good kid,” Gentes said of Howard. “Matt is never far from the thoughts of us.”
As for Gentes, he never sought the limelight as a long-time coach, preferring instead to put his players and the program first.