Madawaska Ski Coach Howard Paradis will be inducted into Maine Sports Hall of Fame
Madawaska, Maine (WAGM) -The Maine Sports Hall of Fame will be adding a St John Valley man into the Shrine later this year. Long time Madawaska Ski Coach Howard Paradis will be inducted in October. Paradis was a long time educator and coach in Madawaska and led the Owls to numerous State Ski Titles. Earlier this month during a suprise get together for Paradis Joan Benoit Samuelson joined via zoom and told him he was joinning the elite club.
Joan Benoit Samuleson:”It is my pleasure and honor to say that you are being inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. in October. Thank you so much for all that you have given to the County to the sport of skiing and track and field. You were a teach way back in the 50′s and you decided coaching was really what you wanted to do. You changed people’s lives. We are thrilled and honored to be announcing today that you will be inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. Congratulations
Howard Paradis:” I just broke down. I was very emotional about this because I didn’t expect this.”
Paradis has been very active in the skiing community his whole life including at the 4 Seasons Trail Association. Madawaska Ski Coach Colin Jandreau was involved in setting up the surprise by telling Paradis a little tale about what was happening that day.
Paradis:” There is a hill up there that is in my name. My name is on it and he said I have a lot of kids here you can explain that to them.”
(pictures courtesy Dawn Pelletier)
Paradis was a trailblazer. Back in 1971 Madawaska did not have a girl’s ski team, but Dawn Pelletier was one of his best skiers so he entered her in a boys race without anyone knowing it.
Paradis:” I says put your hair up under your helmet and whatever you do don’t talk to anyone. She gets to the starting game and this guy starts talking to her. She answered and he yelled you are a girl. She says please don’t tell anybody. She was in the top five and she was the best athlete at the school here.”
(Pictures courtesy Ruth Labbe)
1971 was the first year that a girl’s team from the County won a State title, The Fort Kent girls won the Class B States that year. Madawaska started a girls varsity team in 1972. The girls won States in 1973 and 1974. Paradis coached both the boys and girls for over 30 years.
Paradis:” Those three skiers had been grew up at Mt Farlagne. They had been racing in Canada. There was no problem there on Sunday’s we would go up to Canada and race.”
He and Mike Pelletier teamed up and led the Owls juggernaut to several State titles.
In all Paradis brought over 20 state titles to Madawaska High School.
Skiing is still a big part of his life. Even at 90 years old Paradis still ski at Mt Farlagne in Edmundston. This is video his granddaughter took of him skiing earlier this year
Paradis:” It’s just fun.”
He also makes it a point to attend the Nordic Ski Races at Four Seasons..
Paradis:” I come to all the high school races. I love to see them ski cross country.”
Paradis was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame back in 2013. He is humbled to be joining so many elite athletes in the Maine Sports Hall of Fame and he knows he could get emotional.
Paradis:” I hope I don’t cry. It’s going to be. Like me grandson told me the other day, you are in the major leagues now.” >
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