PORTLAND, ME – July 22, 2022 – Forward Conner Bleackley will be returning for his third season with the Mariners, the team announced on Friday. Originally acquired midway through the 2019-20 campaign, Bleackley came back to the Mariners in 2021-22 for his sixth professional season.
A veteran of over 300 professional games, Bleackley hit a milestone with his 100th career ECHL point this past season. The Alberta-born forward did so in dramatic fashion, netting the overtime goal in a 2-1 win over the Trois-Rivieres Lions on February 20th, 2022. February was Bleackley’s best month offensively, as it featured 5 of his 11 goals on the season. In general, his production increased in the second half, with 9 goals and 12 assists after the New Year, compared to just 2 goals and 3 assists over October, November, and December. With 26 points in 66 games, Bleackley finished 9th on the team in scoring. He also added a goal and an assist in six playoff games.
The Mariners first landed Bleackley in a January 2020 trade with the Idaho Steelheads. He finished out the pre-pandemic portion of 2019-20 strong, with 10 points in 15 games for the Mariners. With Maine not playing in 2020-21, Bleackley joined the Allen Americans, before returning to Portland last season.
“I’m thrilled to be back in Maine this fall,” said Bleackley. “The progress we made as a team throughout the last season and the tight knit group of guys made it an easy decision to come back.”
Bleackley, 26, is a former first round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in 2014, when he was selected 23rd overall. He was then drafted a second time two years later, going in the fifth round to the St. Louis Blues. In addition to 185 ECHL games, he has appeared in 133 at the American Hockey League level, primarily with Blues affiliates in Chicago and San Antonio.