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Jets’ Melanson hospitalized after suffering heart attack in Maine

Al Melanson, who took on the task of coaching a combined high school hockey team consisting of players from both Lynn Classical and Lynn English, suffered a heart attack this past weekend in Maine.Melanson was listed in critical, but stable, condition, according to English High principal Andy Fila, who had hired Melanson two years ago to coach the English team.Melanson was also a part-owner of the North Shore Spirit, who played at Fraser Field for five years, leaving at the conclusion of the 2007 season.”As far as I know, he’s still hospitalized up in Maine, intensive care,” said English athletic director Gary Molea. “We’re all hoping for the best, obviously.”Melanson is a veteran of the Lynn sports scene, having coached varsity hockey for both Lynn Tech and English in the 1970s and ’80s. He also was a manager in the Wyoma Little League system.After Melanson retired as a state police officer, he got a position as a high-level security administrator at a building in Boston that included State Street Global Advisers – the company headed up by Nick Lopardo, who was the owner of the Spirit.Melanson and Lopardo became friends, based partly on their mutual interest in hockey. When Lopardo purchased the Waterbury Spirit and moved the team to Lynn, in 2002, Melanson joined him as a part-owner.He stayed with the Spirit for all five seasons. In the meantime, Fila asked him to return to English in 2005 to coach the Bulldogs.Melanson coached English for two seasons, but resigned following the 2006-07 season, citing work commitments. However, by the time the two schools merged, Melanson had already made inquiries into lessening his workload, and was able to take the job to coach the combined team – the Lynn Jets – when it was offered to him.Former Beverly coach Mike Deering, and Joe Conlon – both of whom are assistants on the Lynn Jets – will act as co-coaches for the remainder of the season. The Jets have three games left, including one Wednesday against Saugus. They must win all three to be eligible to play in the postseason tournament.”Maybe it’ll make him feel better if we get a little streak going,” Molea said. “But we’re going to worry about him first, and hockey second.”

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