Like the rest of the Adirondack Frostbite team, Westmont’s Joe Babik was surprised when coach Marc Potvin didn’t show up for a Friday morning skate in Kalamazoo, Mich.

But the uncertainty soon turned to disbelief and grief for Babik, the United Hockey League team’s radio announcer.

“It has everybody in shock right now,” Babik said Saturday, a day after Potvin was found dead in his hotel room. “The game in Kalamazoo was postponed. We were supposed to play Muskegon (Saturday), but the players decided there was no way we could play. We’re headed home to Glens Falls (N.Y.).”

A former NHL player, Potvin, 38, was in his second full season as coach for Adirondack, in a city where he was part of an American Hockey League championship as a player in 1992. Potvin played 121 NHL games in parts of six seasons

with the Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings, Hartford Whalers and Boston Bruins.

He was known as a gritty player who scored only three NHL goals but accumulated 456 penalty minutes. The winger was part of Los Angeles’ 1993 Stanley Cup runner-up team coached by current Frostbite co-owner Barry Melrose.

Potvin was a “players’ coach,” well-liked, enthusiastic and a good communicator. He formerly coached the ECHL’s Mississippi Sea Wolves in 1999-00 before joining the AHL’s Springfield Falcons for two seasons.

Babik is in his first season with the Frostbite after previously working four years with the ECHL’s Pee Dee Pride. The Westmont Hilltop graduate said Potvin’s players respected the coach and enjoyed playing for him.

“We have a good core who’s been with him since he’s been here,” Babik said. “We had a bunch of rookies this year, really out of nowhere, diamonds in the rough he found, and they are having good years. We have a close knit group of guys here. Everybody’s taking a pretty hard hit over the last 48 hours.”

The Frostbite were supposed to play the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday and at Muskegon on Saturday. Team co-owners Melrose and Steve Levy, both ESPN analysts, met with the team Friday in Kalamazoo and a decision was made to postpone the weekend games.

Babik said the tragic events happened so quickly that he remains stunned. The radio broadcaster repeatedly used the word surreal while describing events.

“He didn’t make it to Friday’s morning skate. We went over to the rink,” Babik said. “Somebody from the hotel went up to his room and saw what had happened. They called the rink in Kalamazoo. They told our equipment manager. He broke the news.

“I’ve only known the guy three or four months, but he’s always been very professional to deal with. He’s a great guy around the team. He’s real upbeat and a great guy to be around.”

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