Karl Enroth led the Camden Hills High School hockey team to eight playoff berths in 10 years, a regional championship game appearance and four Class B sportsmanship banners.
Now he will try to repeat his success as the new head hockey coach for the Houlton/Hodgdon/Southern Aroostook/Katahdin Blackhawks.
He will replace Joel Trickey, who stepped down after his second stint as the head coach of the cooperative team.
The 58-year-old Enroth led Camden Hills to a 111-76-6 record during his 10 years. His contract was not renewed following the 2017-18 season.
The Windjammers had been 5-25-2 in the previous two seasons before he took over in 2008 and he promptly led them to a 7-9-1 season in 2008-09 followed by a 14-4 campaign the following year.
Enroth said he wasn’t actively seeking a coaching position but he was in the area because he and partner Michelle had bought some rental cabins and a tavern in Mount Chase in 2020. Mount Chase is in Penobscot County but borders Aroostook County.
He received a phone call from Houlton athletic director Jon Solomon seeing if he would be interested in getting back into coaching after a three-year hiatus.
“Once you’ve coached and played your whole life, it never really goes away,” said Enroth, a native of Rochester, Massachusetts, and the golf pro and general manager of the Megunticook Golf Club in Rockport.
His background includes playing hockey at Old Rochester High School in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, and club hockey at Springfield College.
He eventually became an assistant coach for the men’s team and then the women’s team at Amherst College before moving on to become the men’s head coach at Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He spent five seasons at Western New England.
He said he left coaching because he was “making more money managing golf courses.”
But golf is a seasonal sport and he took advantage of the opportunity to return to coaching at Camden Hills.
“We’re very excited to have him,” Solomon said. “With the success he had at Camden Hills and his overall coaching background including his college experience, that’s going to be great for our program.”
Enroth had around 14 players at his first practice on Monday.
“There’s going to be a lot of coaching and teaching. I want the players to give me effort, commitment and focus and the skill will come out as the season goes along,” Enroth said.
“We will hold the players accountable and establish some discipline. We want to teach them the right habits that will help them have success on and off the ice. We will make the drills in practice competitive. We will also check their grades because we can’t afford to lose players due to grades.”
Enroth intends to invest time in the youth programs and wants his players to spend time with the youth players to give them something to aspire to and to create a community atmosphere.
He said he is hoping that their numbers can climb every year as more youngsters get interested.
“You need to have more than 13 to 14 players,” Enroth said. “So we’re going to try to grow and develop the program. It’s not going to happen overnight. But I’m not afraid to take on a challenge.”
Enroth is assisted by Tony Marino, who was the head coach in between Trickey’s two stints.
Houlton-Hodgdon was severely limited in its number of games last winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Blackhawks went 3-14-1 during the 2018-19 regular season after going 8-9-1 in 2017-18 and 9-8-1 in 2016-17. In the previous three seasons, they were a combined 2-51-0.