PORTLAND, ME – October 4, 2021 – Maine Mariners training camp gets underway on October 11th, as the third season of ECHL hockey in Portland begins a year later than scheduled. Emerging from the pandemic cancellation of the 2020-21 campaign, the Mariners enter year three with a new head coach at the helm and a new NHL affiliate. The 2021-22 season is presented by Hannaford To Go.
Ben Guite leads the charge in his first season as Mariners head coach, following Riley Armstrong’s departure to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League in early August. Guite is already well-known locally, as a former player and coach for the University of Maine men’s hockey program. He also played in the NHL, originally making his debut for the Mariners new affiliate, the Boston Bruins. The Mariners and Bruins made their new partnership official on June 30th, following three years with the Mariners serving as a New York Rangers affiliate. The move completed the Maine-Boston “trifecta” with the Portland Sea Dogs and Maine Celtics being affiliated with the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics, respectively.
“It’s exciting that hockey is right around the corner,” said Guite. “Our fans have been waiting for this for a long time. Our players have been relentless in their preparation and are ready to go. For some players, it’s been an opportunity they’ve been preparing for 18 months. You can sense their excitement to start playing hockey again after a long summer and the challenges of the last year and a half.”
Players will begin off-ice testing on Monday, October 11th, followed by on-ice testing on Tuesday, October 12th. Full practices will begin on Wednesday, October 13th, as the Mariners prepare for a pair of preseason games against the Worcester Railers on Friday, October 15th and Saturday, October 16th. The Mariners are hosting the game on October 15th at The Colisee in Lewiston – a 7:00 PM puck drop. Admission will be $2 cash at the door. Both preseason games will be broadcast via audio stream at MarinersofMaine.com/listen and the Mixlr App.
As players are assigned to the Mariners from NHL and AHL camps, the roster will continue to take shape the following week. Full season ticket holders will be able to attend a night practice on Tuesday, October 19th at the Cross Insurance Arena, where the team will be introduced. The Mariners will open the regular season against Worcester on Friday, October 22nd at 7:15 PM in the home opener, presented by Skowhegan Savings.
“Our team will be known for our work ethic, compete level and ability to make plays at a high pace,” added Guite. “We have the foundation in place. Our camp will be competitive to make sure we are prepared and ready to go come October 22nd vs Worcester. We can’t wait to see the Cross Insurance Arena full of Mariners fans on opening night!”