The Maine Mariner’s history doesn’t go as far back as other ECHL franchises, but hockey returned to Maine in 2017 as Comcast Sports bought the then-Alaska Aces and relocated them to Portland, Maine, as the team began ECHL play during the 2018-19 season. Maine would be headed by Paul Holmgren and Danny Briere; Briere was a major part of the Mariners organization until he moved into the Flyers Front Office. In the team’s first two seasons, they were affiliated with the New York Rangers; then, in 2021, the Mariners switched their affiliation, completing the New England Trifecta as they would become part of the Boston Bruins organization, which is who they are affiliated with today.
The Logo and The Name
When the team was relocated back to Maine, there was a fan vote on the team name, and Mariners won by only three votes beating out Lumberjacks, Watchmen, Purffins, and Wild Blueberries, as the Mariner name that the team used when they were an AHL team was brought back. The Logo is a tribute to the Pine Tree state, and the logo also has several subtle factors that depict the history of Maine, including the star, which is also on the state flag, and the lighthouses in the logo that symbolize the many lighthouses in Maine.
New York Rangers Era
In their first season in the ECHL, the Mariners finished the season with a 37-32-2-1 record which landed them in sixth place under head coach Riley Armstrong. Despite the team getting off to a slow start as they wouldn’t pick up their first win til their fifth game of the season. Taylor Cammarata would lead Maine offensively, putting up 24 goals and 32 assists for 56 points in 73 games. The Mariners would have six different goaltenders make an appearance, but the majority of the season was split between Chris Nell, Brandon Halverson, and Connor Lacouvee, as Halverson had the best numbers putting up a 15-13-0-1 with a 2.67 GAA .924 SV% and a shutout in 30 games.
The following year would end up being the COVID year when the league ended its season early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a shortened 2019-20 season, the Mariners would go 32-26-3-1, which had them sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot, 11 points ahead of the Adirondack Thunder, who were in fifth place. As expected, Lacouvee had another solid season for Maine in between the pipes, going 20-13-2-1 with a 2.75 GAA, .915 SV%, and a shutout. There would be a lot of new faces for the Mariners as they headed into the 2019-20 season, as Terrence Wallin and Dillon Fox would both put up 20+ goals for the Mariners. However, the 2019-20 season would be their last as a member of the Rangers organization.
Boston Bruins Era
As the New York Rangers moved their affiliate to Jacksonville, the New England Trifecta would be complete as the Boston Bruins would partner with the Maine Mariners to make them their ECHL affiliate. Over the past two seasons as affiliates of the Bruins, the Mariners have made the Kelly Cup Playoffs; however, in both seasons would be eliminated in the opening round. They went 33-31-5-3 during the 2021-22 season, finishing fourth in the North. Matthew Santos would lead the team in all offensive categories putting up 26 goals, and 33 assists for 59 points in 53 games. The following season, the Mariners would go 42-27-2-1 and finish third in the North Divison; they would be led by Tim Doherty, who led the team with 73 points (21G,52A).
Over the course of the two seasons with the Bruins, Maine would look to guys like Nick Master and Alex Kile to help carry the offensive load for the team. Along with a few solid ECHL names in Maine, the Bruins also had Curtis Hall, who was the Bruins fourth-round pick in 2018, spend time in Maine last season as he saw eight games with the Mainers putting up five goals in the regular season and adding another three goals and three assists in six Kelly Cup Playoffs ga es. One factor to their success has been the goaltending, as they’ve been able to have guys like Stefanos Lekkas, Jeremy Brouder, and Michael DiPietro all see time between the pipes for the Mariners.
Related: Maine Mariners History