All-Region Male Hockey Player of the Year: Edward Little’s Jack Keefe

Edward Little High School senior captain Jack Keefe lines up on a face-off during the second period of a Dec. 27, 2021 game against Saint Dominic Academy in Auburn. Daryn Slover/Sun Diary

AUBURN — Jack Keefe’s scoring ability led Edward Little to the Class A semifinals and the senior Red Eddies forward was Sun Journal All-Region Men’s Hockey Player of the Year.

The striker has led the Red Eddies with 17 goals, including four two-goal games, and 11 assists in 20 games this season. He was also a finalist for the Travis Roy Award, which Cullen Adams of South Portland/Waynflete/Freeport won.

“I’ve had some really great teammates and teammates – Wesley (Clements), Aiden (Gonzalez) and Campbell (Cassidy) – over the season,” Keefe said after the Travis Roy awards ceremony.

Keefe added that he didn’t expect to be the Red Eddies’ leading scorer this season but tried to do his part to help the team.

He has increased his goal production after a shortened junior season due to the coronavirus pandemic. He has registered five goals and six assists in 12 games in 2020-21.

Edward Little’s trainer Norm Gagne said Keefe had done a good job hitting the gym to get stronger. He also took his work ethic to get stronger in the gym on the ice in training.

Edward Little’s Jack Keefe takes the puck down the ice past Greely’s Sean Allen during a January game at Auburn. Andrée Kehn/Sun Journal

“He’s never wasted a practice, he’s always working hard to improve by scoring on Gage (Ducharme) or Camryn Dufour, our goalies,” Gagné said. “He is still working hard, as well as our goalkeepers to stop him.

Gagné said Keefe has been the rock of the team this season.

“He has all the qualities of a great competitor,” Gagné said. “He knows how to compete, and you look at his consistency, he’s just a consistent player. He does all the little things, he pays attention to detail. He counterattacks hard, he goes aggressively into the corners to get the puck and he always seems to come out with the puck, he’s strong on the puck, he always knows where his teammates are on the ice, he’s always watching the ice, considering his options, that’s the mark of a good hockey player.

Another quality Keefe portrays on the ice is his selflessness, according to Gagné.

Gagne noted that Keefe has been in the clutch a few times this season, including scoring a few wins in a 2-1 win over Greely on Jan. 26 and one over Falmouth in a 4-3 overtime game on Feb. 5.

Keefe said what he will remember this season is having fun and winning 17 games.

This season’s 17 wins are tied for second most in program history with the 2002-03 team, which won the Class A state championship. The 2003-04 team won 23 games to win the state championship for the second straight season.

Edward Little’s Jack Keefe, right, watches his shot tickle the string for a goal during a Jan. 31 game against Saint Dominic Academy at Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Keefe will also have some off-ice memories he will remember.

“The things we do off the ice, like the EL golf tournament we host every fall, the bottle orders – minus the 5 degree weather – the team dinners and the many fight nights UFC created a bond that helped steer us to a successful season on the ice,” Keefe said during his Travis Roy Award finalist speech.

Keefe also said during his speech that Edward Little’s entire coaching staff helped him become a better player.

Playing with his brother Brody, a Red Eddies junior, will be something Jack will always cherish from his senior season.

Keefe said he was happy to be part of Edward Little’s rise to Class A prominence.

“We were 1-10 and we turned around,” Keefe said after the second-season Travis Roy awards ceremony.

The Red Eddies finished this season winning nine of their last 10 games and reached the semi-finals, losing to Lewiston.

Central Maine Community College announced Thursday that Keefe has committed to playing for the Mustangs hockey team next season.

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Catherine J. Martinez