William E. Provencher

William E. Provencher

A Maine native who became one of the best goaltenders in Bowdoin hockey history, Bill Provencher set a standard against which future Polar Bear netminders are measured. The owner of the highest save percentage in school history, Provencher is the only Bowdoin goalie to be nominated for the Heisman of collegiate hockey— the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

Raised in Lewiston, Maine, and attending Lewiston High School and North Yarmouth Academy, Provencher was an accomplished and versatile athlete. His Lewiston hockey teams won three consecutive state titles and the 1975 New England Championship. In addition to hockey he played baseball and soccer and was also an all-state football selection. His first winter in Brunswick, he immediately made an impact on the Dayton Arena ice by playing 375 minutes between the pipes and posting a 3.84 goals-against-average in Bowdoin’s ECAC Championship-winning season of 1977-78. After a sophomore season that saw him increase his playing time and post a 46-save effort in a game against Boston College, Provencher assumed the role of starting Polar Bear netminder in the 1979-80 campaign. It was a role that fit well, as Provencher racked up a school-record 700 saves that season and a save percentage of .913, the third-best in Bowdoin history. He was tabbed as the ECAC Division II Eastern Player of the Year and grabbed first-team All-ECAC honors as Bowdoin went 19-5-2 during his junior season.

Provencher carded a .909 save percentage and 2.80 goals-against—average in ECAC play in the 1980-81 season and as co-captain cemented his place among the best goaltenders in small college history. He was one of only ten players in all of college hockey to be nominated for the first-ever Hobey Baker Memorial Award, and was an AHCA Titan Eastern College Division All-American. In addition to holding the best career save percentage in school history (.900), Provencher graduated with the most saves in school history (1,755, now third), second in best goals-againstaverage (3.25, now eighth), second in most minutes (3,613, now fourth) and second in wins (35, now seventh).

Provencher went on to play professionally with six minor league hockey clubs, including the AHL’s Maine Mariners. In 1982 he was named to the ACHL All-Star team while a member of the Mohawk Valley Stars. Provencher earned his degree in government while at Bowdoin. He lives in Olathe, Kansas with his wife, Linda, and their two daughters.