PORTLAND, ME – May 11, 2021 – The Maine Mariners announced their 2021-22 schedule on Tuesday, marking their return to ECHL play after the COVID-19 pandemic halted play in March of 2020 and subsequently cancelled the entire 2020-21 campaign. The 2021-22 season, the Mariners’ third in the ECHL, is presented by Hannaford To Go. The full schedule can be viewed here.
As previously announced, the season will begin on Friday, October 22nd, when the Mariners host the Worcester Railers at the Cross Insurance Arena at 7:15 PM in the home opener, presented by Skowhegan Savings. That will be the front end of a home-and-home with the Railers to open the season, with the teams meeting at the DCU Center in Worcester on October 23rd. The Mariners play six of the first seven games of the season on home ice, hosting the new expansion franchise from Trois-Rivieres, Quebec on October 29th, and then welcoming in the Reading Royals for a Halloween afternoon game on October 31st. The homestand continues through mid-November with the first-ever contest against the Florida Everblades on November 5th and two more with Trois-Rivieres on November 12th and 14th. After a four game road trip to Florida, the Mariners finish the November home schedule with two games on either side of the Thanksgiving holiday – November 24th against Worcester and the 26th hosting the Newfoundland Growlers.
“The great hockey fans of Maine have been unbelievably patient over the last year, understanding that playing the 2020-21 season was not a realistic option for us,” said Mariners President Danny Briere. “To be able to welcome them back in the fall will hopefully make our return after the long wait that much sweeter. We look forward to putting another competitive team on the ice that will bring playoff hockey back to Portland and make a run at the Kelly Cup.”
The Mariners will once again compete in the North Division, which will include returning clubs Worcester, Reading, Newfoundland, and the Adirondack Thunder, all of whom also opted out of the 2020-21 season. The Brampton Beast announced in February that they were ceasing operations, and will be replaced in the division by the Trois-Rivieres franchise, which has not yet announced a team name.
Another highlight of the 2021-22 home schedule includes games on both New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Trois-Rivieres is the opponent on December 31st, before Adirondack comes to town for the first game of 2022. January is the busiest home month of the schedule, with nine games at the Cross Insurance Arena.
In addition to Florida, two other South Division opponents will visit the Cross Insurance Arena in 2021-22. The Orlando Solar Bears come in for three games on January 21st, 22nd, and 23rd. The Mariners hosted Orlando in November of 2018, but haven’t seen the Solar Bears since. They’ll also visit Orlando in the first half of the season, playing a total of four games against the Bears. The South Carolina Stingrays, which have made trips to Portland in each of the Mariners’ first two seasons, visit once again for a pair of games on March 19th and 20th.
The season concludes in mid-April with a three game homestand against Reading (April 13th) and Newfoundland (April 15th and 16th).
The opponent breakdown for the season is as follows: Trois-Rivieres (15), Worcester and Adirondack (14), Newfoundland (13), Reading (6), and South Division opponents: Orlando (4), Jacksonville (3), South Carolina (2), and Florida (1).
Like previous seasons, all Friday home games will begin at 7:15 PM, Saturdays at 6:00, Sundays at 3:00, and Wednesdays at 7:00 PM. Two games (December 31st and January 30th) will begin at 5:00 PM, with the the puck dropping at 3:00 PM on December 29th.
The 2021-22 season is presented by Hannaford To Go. As presenting partners for the season, Hannaford will support the Mariners in virtually every aspect of the business throughout the season. The partnership is highlighted by Hannaford’s efforts to support the community with the “Hannaford To Go Kids Corner.” At each Mariners home game, Hannaford will donate 50 tickets to local youth and charitable organizations.
“Hannaford is excited to team up with the Maine Mariners this season as their loyal fans make their way back into the stadium,” said Jess Joyce, Regional Marketing Specialist for Hannaford. “Families and friends will finally enjoy reconnecting to do more of the things they love, and we are proud to further our community support efforts through our partnership.”
The ECHL is currently playing the 2020-21 season with 14 teams participating, and 12 having opted out, including the entire North Division. The regular season is slated to end on June 5th with the 2021 Kelly Cup to be awarded by July 3rd.