Guy Perron was special.
One of a kind.
The former two-time University of Maine hockey captain, who died at the age of 57 on Monday after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer, touched many lives with his kindness, sense of humor and positive attitude.
“He was a great guy who would do anything for anybody,” said Mario Thyer, Perron’s teammate at UMaine for two seasons. The two became best friends. “He loved to help people. He was a great dad and a great family man. He had a really good sense of humor and a contagious smile.”
Perron’s hockey resume was long and impressive. He was a native of Laval, Quebec, who came to UMaine in 1986.
Even though he was just a freshman and still adapting to the language, he had 13 goals and 22 assists in 42 games as the Black Bears earned the school its first of 18 NCAA Tournament berths in the 1986-87 season.
The following year, when he had 14 goals and 22 assists in 42 games, the Black Bears made the first of the program’s 11 trips to the Frozen Four.
“He was really fast and he played with an edge,” Thyer said. “He wasn’t the biggest guy out there but he played tough.”
Perron was just 5-foot-9, 161 pounds but former UMaine teammate Jack Capuano said “he played like he was 6-foot-3, 240 pounds.”
Former UMaine goalie Greg Hirsch credited Perron with being a factor in the team evolving from an average program to a national championship contender.
“He played a huge part in that,” agreed Brett Hale, a longtime UMaine hockey fan who coached with Perron in the Maine Junior Black Bear program. “He always stood out.”
Perron was a captain his final two years at UMaine and had 35 goals and 40 assists in 55 games. An injury-marred senior season saw him limited to just 21 games.
He concluded his career tied for 17th on the school’s all-time scoring list with 146 points (62 goals, 84 assists) in 136 games.
“The biggest thing for me is that everybody knew he was a great player and a great leader, but he was more than that,” Capuano said.
“He was always there as a friend. He was someone you could talk to. He was someone you wanted to be around. He had a great personality and he always made you feel welcome. He just cared about people.”
After playing a year of professional hockey in Sweden, Perron began an extensive coaching career as a volunteer assistant at UMaine in 1991-92.
“He made a great first impression,” said Hirsch, who was a freshman at UMaine that season. “He was somebody everybody looked up to.”
Like Hale, Hirsch also coached with Perron in the Maine Junior Black Bear program and he and Perron also assisted the Bangor High School team two years ago.
Perron stayed on as an assistant with Bangor this past season, helping out when he was able to.
“You would have never known he was sick. His spirits were always so high,” Hirsch said.
Perron coached the Bangor High hockey team for two years (’92-’93 and ’93-’94) and had a couple of one-year stints as a UMaine assistant. He was later the coach and the general manager of the Chicago Freeze in the North America Hockey League for six years, had two years as the UMaine women’s head coach and two more years as the UMaine men’s associate head coach before a six-year stint as a scout for the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
Perron was a presence in the locker room with his knowledge of the game and passion for it.
“When he spoke, everyone listened,” said Hale, who added that Perron was an outstanding communicator and could break a game down and explain it in ways his players could understand.
Perron is survived by his wife, Renee, his daughter, Grace, and his sons, Jack and Marc-Andre.
“He was the best guy in the world,” Hirsch said.