|Posted by roamingtherinks on June 5, 2011 at 10:11 AM|
This offseason seems to have a lot of twists and turns, even moreso than normal. There is turmoil in the Central Hockey League. There are rumors of new Federal League teams popping up in unlikely places. Sadly though it has been confirmed that one of my favorite teams is officially done. The Lewsiton MAINEiacs of the QMJHL have been acquired by the league and have been dissolved. Just like that there are no more MAINEiacs and the Q has gone back to an all Canadian league. I am glad I got the chance to take in a couple of games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee and experience the magic that was MAINEiacs hockey. The MAINEiacs had one of the most unique experiences in all of hockey for the fans, and here is why I will miss them: They were able to bring the experience of attending hockey in Quebec to the states. From the arena being named the Colisee, to the PA announcer's perfect pronunciation of the French players' names, to the techno music played in warmups, attending a game in Lewiston could easily be mistaken for attending a game in Shawinigan, except you could buy a $3 soda and be given paper money back instead of a $2 coin. The team also had possibly the coolest theme and logo in all of hockey, incorporating the "L" of Lewiston and the "M" of MAINEiacs into a bad ass looking logo. The Colisee also had it charm, although it had very few creature comforts, no luxury suites, and a small capacity. It is closer to an arena out of the moive Slapshot than a modern cookie-cutter arena. The fans in Lewiston were loud and passionate, and were rewarded with a QMJHL Championship in 2007.
I took the above photo after the MAINEiacs got swept out of the playoffs in the first round by Drummondville in 2009, only a couple days after it was announced that they would stay in Lewiston despite rumors of a move the suburban Montreal. The players saluted their fans at center ice, and everyone stuck around to show their appreciation for the team despite getting blown out. It appears that the attendance never recovered after that as moves to St John's, Summerside PEI and others were constant and made the fans of Lewiston feel they were on borrowed time. Still a MAINEiacs game would be a fun place to go and watch amazing talent skate with passion. Oddly the franchise was moved to Lewiston in 2003 from Sherbrooke, and per the Q website a new team will be awarded in Sherbrooke in 2012. So although the team has officially been dissolved and records of the franchise will stop the team is essentially going full circle and ending up back in Sherbrooke. Either way U.S. and New England fans are missing out by no longer having a QMJHL team stateside. Thankfully I captured a piece of the MAINEiacs experience on Roaming the Rinks http://www.roamingtherinks.com/androscogginbankcolise.htm and I will gladly sport my MAINEiacs jersey for years to come. So this time I salute the MAINEiacs and their fans.