St. Joseph boys hockey coach Ed LeMaire died Saturday morning. He was 53.

“It breaks our hearts to share with you the news that Coach Eddy passed away early this morning,” read a Saturday-afternoon post on LeMaire’s 2 Way Hockey Facebook page. “We know that many in the hockey community are heartbroken as well. Eddy has touched the lives and shaped the paths of so many young people over the years, and he truly cherished each one of them.”

LeMaire was a fixture at rinks around the area for years as a hockey instructor and coach.

“He was not only, I thought, one of the best hockey coaches and players I saw, he was a good all-around guy,” former St. Joseph coach Marty Crouse said. “A lot of kids looked up to him. He was great to the kids.”

LeMaire graduated from East Haven High in 1984 and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2007 after scoring a school-record 182 points as a Yellowjacket. He played junior hockey in Canada and professionally near Paris, once leading France’s Division 2 in scoring.

Sacred Heart University coach C.J. Marottolo, a contemporary of LeMaire’s, tweeted his condolences.

“He was one of the best players in CT in his era,” Marottolo said in his tweet, “great hands and great hockey IQ. He was a kind soul. RIP my friend!!”

LeMaire joined Crouse’s staff at St. Joseph as an assistant coach in 2009 after the Cadets won the Division III championship. He helped them to the Division II final in his first year and the Division I final the year after that.

“The kids took to him,” Crouse said. “He was the one-on-one guy.”

After a couple of years away, he became St. Joseph’s third head coach in 2016.

“You hear the quote ‘hockey guy,’” Crouse said, “but he was on a level above the average guy.”

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; @fornabaioctp