26 in 26: Maine Nordiques
August 31, 2019
The 26 in 26 series features a look at all 26 teams in the NAHL for the 2019-20 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 26 in 26 looks into each NAHL team and will include video interviews with 26 coaches in the NAHL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the season, including taking a look at their strengths as a team and thoughts on the league. It will also take a look back on last season and how each team fared and what they accomplished.
Head Coach: Nolan Howe (1st Year)
2018-19 record: Did not play
2018-19 leading scorer: Did not play
2019 Playoffs: Did not play
2019-20 Division: East
First regular season game: Friday, September 14th @ Northeast Generals
Home opener: Friday, October 4th vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
On February 28th, the North American Hockey League announced the Maine Nordiques would be joining the NAHL for the 2019-20 season. Since then, head coach Nolan Howe and his staff have been hard at work putting together the team for the inaugural season. The Nordiques will compete in the East Division, bringing the total number of teams in that region to seven.
The team will play out of the Androscoggin Bank Colisée. The venue opened in 1958 and has a capacity of 4,000. Throughout it’s history, the building has hosted a wide variety of hockey teams including the Lewiston Maineiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League and it’s currently hosts the Lewiston/Auburn Nordiques of the North American 3 Hockey League.
The passionate fan base of Lewiston, Maine are ready to welcome the team with open arms and coach Howe can see the enthusiasm around the community.
“Honestly, I’m blown away by it. I knew there was passion there. I knew the NA3HL team has done well attendance-wise. The Nordique nation, the people around town, the entire state of Maine has really embraced us. You can see it in the social media world, you can see it when we have fans showing up to pre-draft camp, said Howe. “For me, it’s about connecting with people and that’s what the game of hockey provides. What we’re going to try to do for our fans is show them the love that they show us.”
Howe believes that the fans at the Colisée will give his club a boost on the ice as well as off of it.
“You play in front of passionate fans, it adds enthusiasm and passion to your game. The passion that’s going to be in that building every time we drop the puck, it’s going to be exciting to play in front of,” added Howe.
While the Nordiques will have to build their club from scratch, they’ll have some good building blocks to start with. The L/A Nordiques of the NA3HL just finished their best season in team history and the Maine Nordiques have offered tenders to a few of those players to start building their roster.
At the end of the day, the final decision will be Howe’s and he’s looking for the right guys to set the tone for the Nordiques culture.
“For me, it starts with character, it starts with the person. The game of hockey is very tough. What I want is young men that want to be at the rink and want to get better and want to be around the boys. We’re not here to goofing off, we’re there having fun and getting better,” Howe said.
The Maine Nordiques will look to make an instant splash in the North American Hockey League as they begin their inaugural season in just a few weeks. They will open up their campaign at the New England Sports Village on September 13th and 14th when they take on the their new division rival the Northeast Generals before heading west to the NAHL Showcase September 18th through the 21st.
Next up: Maryland Black Bears