MARINERS EXTEND, PROMOTE RILEY ARMSTRONG

PORTLAND, ME – August 28, 2019 – Mariners Vice President of Operations Danny Briere announced today that Head Coach Riley Armstrong has received a two-year contract extension through the 2021-22 season and has also been promoted to the title of Head Coach/Assistant General Manager. Armstrong, in his first season as an ECHL head coach, led the Mariners to a 37-32-2-1 record in 2018-19.

“We are excited to extend Riley for two more years as he’s shown a lot of promise leading an expansion team to within two points of a playoff spot last season,” said Briere. “He has also gone above and beyond his role as a head coach and we feel he has earned the title of Assistant General Manager for his work off the ice as well.”

Armstrong, 34, was announced as the franchise’s first head coach in February of 2018, departing from the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers where he served as an assistant coach. He joined Wheeling in 2016, immediately following retirement from his playing career and spent almost two full seasons on the Nailers staff before accepting the head coaching job in Maine. His initial contract took him through the end of the 2019-20 season, and now he has welcomed stability for himself and his family.

“As a player and then early on my coaching career, we had a couple of moves that we made as a family so now it kind of takes a load off the shoulders a little bit,” said Armstrong. “My kids don’t mind the moving part of what I do for a living, but at the same time for myself it’s nice that they’re going to be in a school for a long period of time. And also just being in Portland, we’ve made some friends around town now, I feel really comfortable here.”

A native of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Armstrong’s playing career spanned 12 seasons and took him all over the globe. He spent the majority of his career with the San Jose Sharks top affiliate – first in Cleveland, Ohio and then in Worcester, Massachusetts. In the 2008-09 season, Armstrong made his NHL debut with San Jose. He left the Sharks organization the following season, but stayed in the AHL, playing for the Abbotsford Heat and Grand Rapids Griffins. He then played overseas in Germany, Finland, Sweden, and Kazakhstan. Before his career was over, Armstrong had ECHL stints with the Utah Grizzlies, Elmira Jackals, and Reading Royals – the team with which he finished.

Armstrong says the addition of Assistant General Manager to his title is a key step in a journey toward NHL coaching dreams.

“It’s something that is good for my resume that I can add to it to keep climbing the ladder in this hockey world,” he said. “Everybody wants to move up to the American League and hopefully to the National League one day, and that’s the path I want to take too.”

After a 0-3 start to their inaugural season, Armstrong’s Mariners went 16-7-0-1 through the months of November and December of 2018, putting them in a playoff position at the holiday break. Despite a downturn in January, they rebounded with a 14-9-2-0 mark through February and March. Only a poorly timed five game losing streak in the season’s final weeks kept them from qualifying for the postseason, missing out by just two points. Armstrong’s Mariners were the only team in the ECHL in 2018-19 to miss the playoffs with an above .500 win percentage. Heading into season two, Armstrong’s outlook is optimistic. The current roster contains 16 names of players under contract, not including re-enforcements from the New York Rangers and Hartford Wolf Pack.

“To build the team wasn’t the hardest part,” said Armstrong. “There were a lot of guys that wanted to come back, so for us it was picking the guys that we wanted back. Hartford has helped out a ton, it’s been great building that relationship. I think we’re going to have a really strong team this year. I think we’re going to have chemistry right off the bat that we lacked last year off the start.”

Armstrong and recently signed forward Ted Hart, of Cumberland, will appear on an off-season edition of the Mariners Coach’s Show next Thursday, September 5th from 6-7 PM. The show will broadcast live from Three Dollar Deweys (241 Commercial St. in Portland) and will stream on the Mariners Radio Network via Mixlr as well as Facebook Live. Fans who attend the show at Three Dollar Deweys and ask a question on air will be entered to win a “Benchwarmers” experience during a 2019-20 regular season game – watching warmups from the player’s bench.

The second season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey kicks off October 11th at home when the Adirondack Thunder visit the Cross Insurance Arena for a 7:15 PM faceoff. Full and half season plans along with 12-game mini plans, flex packs, and group tickets are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Single game tickets will go on sale September 16th, with a special “Opening Night Pack” available now through September 13th. More ticket information is available here.

MARINERS PARTNER WITH AGREN AND MAKE-A-WISH MAINE FOR WISH KIDS DESIGN JERSEY CONTEST

PORTLAND, ME – August 23, 2019 – One lucky fan will get to see his or her creation come to life on February 1st, 2020 when the Maine Mariners will sport a custom “wish kids design” jersey for their game against the Adirondack Thunder. The Mariners have partnered with Agren and Make-A-Wish Maine for the event, launching a contest for “wish kids” that will begin today.

“Mariners games are a great opportunity to show the area all the great programs working to help Mainers,” said Mariners V.P. of Business Operations Adam Goldberg. “When Agren mentioned that they are a supporter of Make-A-Wish, it was an obvious connection to highlight the great work that Make-A-Wish Maine does for children in the community. We are thankful for Agren’s support and helping Mariners games continue to be fun and also meaningful.”

All Make-A-Wish Maine “wish families” will be eligible to submit their designs to the Mariners through October 4th. Finalists will be revealed on October 18th, and a two-week online fan vote will decide the winning jersey.

The creator of the winning jersey will get a chance to drop the puck during the February 1st game, have interviews with the in-game hostess and radio broadcaster, and enjoy the game from a Mariners suite with his or her family and Make-A-Wish Maine.

The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off, with 50% of the proceeds benefitting Make-A-Wish Maine. Make-A-Wish will also have a presence at the game on February 1st, running the 50-50 raffle and serving as the Stick Taps non-profit organization of the game.

“We are so grateful to Agren and the Maine Mariners for hosting this fun event,” said Kate Vickery, Executive Director at Make-A-Wish Maine. “This is a wonderful example of a true community partnership which will not only help increase awareness of our mission, but will be incredibly fun for our wish kids and families to be a part of as well.”

Make-A-Wish Maine grants life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. On average, the organization grants one wish every five days and has impacted more than 1,500 children throughout Maine since 1992.

Agren, which is sponsoring the event and the jerseys, will donate a washer and dryer to be raffled off during the February 1st game. Agren is Maine’s premier resource for top-rated appliances, mattresses, and furniture. They are the largest independent appliance and mattress retailer in the state of Maine, with the largest mattress showrooms in the state. They have six locations: in South Portland, Saco, Topsham, Auburn, Brigdton, and Norway.

“Agren is a long-time supporter of Make-A-Wish Maine and we’re excited to have the opportunity to include the organization in our partnership with the Mariners,” said Jason Agren, owner of Agren. “The jersey design contest is a great way to engage local wish kids while also encouraging Mariners fans and the community to join us in raising funds to grant more wishes.”

The second season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey kicks off October 11th at home when the Adirondack Thunder visit the Cross Insurance Arena for a 7:15 PM faceoff. Full and half season plans along with 12-game mini plans, flex packs and group tickets are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Single game tickets will go on sale September 16th.

CUMBERLAND NATIVE TED HART SIGNS WITH MARINERS

Photo credit: Yale Athletics

PORTLAND, ME – August 21, 2019 – Cumberland native and former Maine state champion Ted Hart has signed a standard player contract with the Mariners, the team announced on Wednesday. Hart, a forward, is coming off an NCAA Division I career at Yale University, and will attempt to become the first Maine-born player to play for the Mariners.

“It’s been six years since I left Greely High School, so it’s awesome to come back and get a chance to play in Maine again,” said Hart. “I grew up watching the Portland Pirates and it’s unbelievable to think I could play pro hockey in the same building they once did. I’ve been excited to start my pro career as is, but it will be even more special doing it in front of my friends and family.”

At Greely, Hart helped guide the team to back-to-back State Championships in 2012 and 2013.

“One of my favorite things about Cumberland is the town’s support for Greely athletics,” Hart said. “Cumberland takes pride in following and celebrating its teams. So for me and my friends to have our childhood culminate in back-to-back state titles is a feeling that’s difficult to replicate.”

Hart (6’1, 195 lbs) is now 23-years-old and was a mainstay in the Yale lineup for all four of his collegiate seasons. Of his three goals during his 2015-16 freshman campaign, two were game-winners, including one in overtime. Hart would play at least 31 games each of the proceeding three seasons, with a career high 11 goals in his sophomore year, good for third on the team. His junior season included three multi-goal games, highlighted by a hat trick on December 2nd, 2016 at Union. The same season, he was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team. He would repeat the achievement in 2018-19. Hart totaled 48 points (26 goals, 22 assists) in 120 career games at Yale.

“Ted will bring energy to our lineup with speed and grit which is always good when we get into the dog days of the season,” said Mariners head coach Riley Armstrong.

Hart has two older brothers, each with ECHL experience. Brian Hart, 25, is currently a forward for the Dundee Stars (Scotland), but played previously for Kalamazoo and Greenville. He’s also played in the AHL with the Syracuse Crunch. Brian attended and played at Ted’s rival school – Harvard University. Kevin Hart, the oldest brother (27 years old), attended Providence and debuted in the ECHL with the Elmira Jackals in 2014-15. After two seasons with Dundee, he returned stateside in 2018-19 and suited up in four games for the Worcester Railers, none of which were against the Mariners. All three Hart brothers played for both Greely and Phillips Exeter Academy (New Hampshire). Ted captained Phillips Exeter in 2014-15, leading the team with 49 points in 30 games.

“All three of us have shared very similar hockey backgrounds,” said Ted. “They have not only showed me what it takes to make the next level, but also what to expect when I get there. I was always thrown into their pond and street hockey games as well, which certainly helped me develop as a hockey player.”

While the Mariners may have seemed like an obvious destination for Hart given his background, he pointed out other factors that contributed to his decision to sign.

“The coaches and the rest of the staff [in Maine] are loved by the players, and they also seem to do an excellent job of giving players opportunities up in the AHL,” said Hart. “I know Portland is a great place to live and the fans are awesome, so it was really the coaching staff and their ability to develop players that put the Mariners over the top.”

Forward and Biddeford native Trevor Fleurent signed with the Mariners last summer and stayed with the team through the preseason, after which we was released. Brunswick’s Brian Billett, a goaltender, was also at 2018-19 training camp. Although a Maine-born player has yet to suit up in a regular season game for the Mariners, forward Terrence Wallin calls Maine home. Wallin was born in Yardley, PA.

The second season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey kicks off October 11th at home when the Adirondack Thunder visit the Cross Insurance Arena for a 7:15 PM faceoff. Full and half season plans along with 12-game mini plans, flex packs, and group tickets are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Single game tickets will go on sale September 16th.

JORDAN KLIMEK SIGNED FOLLOWING TRADE FOR RIGHTS

PORTLAND, ME – August 13, 2019 – The Maine Mariners announced the signing of defenseman Jordan Klimek on Tuesday, a week after acquiring his rights in a trade with the Kansas City Mavericks. Last Monday, the Mariners dealt defensemen Derek Pratt and Garrett Cecere to Kansas City in exchange for the rights Klimek.

“We are very excited to add Klimek to our defensive core,” said head coach Riley Armstrong. “He is a good skater and puck mover which will help in breaking the puck out of our zone.”

Klimek will celebrate his 24th birthday this coming Sunday. He was born in Langley, British Columbia, where he played his initial midget and junior hockey. With the Valley West Hawks of the BC Hockey Major Midget League, Klimek led the league in points by a defenseman in the 2011-12 season. He registered 42 points (8 goals, 34 assists) in 40 games. The following season in the BCHL, Klimek won a championship as a part of the Surrey Eagles, scoring six goals and adding 17 assists in 52 regular season games, plus six assists in 17 playoff contests. Klimek continued his junior career in the United States Hockey League with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 2013-14 season, scoring two goals with 14 assists in 54 games. He committed to NCAA Division I Northern Michigan University.

Although he scored just one goal over his first three seasons at Northern Michigan, Klimek racked up 25 assists in that span. He was on the WCHA All-Academic Team in his sophomore campaign of 2015-16. In his senior season of 2017-18, Klimek put up career highs in goals, assists, and points with 3 goals and 15 helpers in 43 games. He also served as an alternate captain. Last August, he signed his first professional contract with Kansas City.

This past season, Klimek (5’11, 185 lbs) appeared in 66 of Kansas City’s 72 regular season games, and scored six goals, while adding 12 assists. He led the team in +/- rating at a +14. Klimek registered his first professional point with a goal on October 27th, 2018 against Indy. He also racked up 43 penalty minutes for the Mavericks, including two fighting majors. In six playoff games, he registered one assist.

Klimek becomes the 5th defenseman under contract with the Mariners, joining Josh Couturier, Rich Boyd, Gabriel Sylvestre, and Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin. In total, the Mariners roster currently sits at 14 players. Click here to view the roster.

The second season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey kicks off October 11th at home when the Adirondack Thunder visit the Cross Insurance Arena for a 7:15 PM faceoff. Full and half season plans along with 12-game mini plans, flex packs and group tickets are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Single game tickets will go on sale September 16th.

MARINERS TO HONOR LOCAL NHL REFEREE WES MCCAULEY

PORTLAND, ME – August 8, 2019 – The Maine Mariners announced on Thursday that Friday, November 15th, 2019 will be “Wes McCauley Appreciation Night” at the Cross Insurance Arena, when the Mariners host the Brampton Beast at 7:15 PM. McCauley, a South Portland resident, has been a full time National Hockey League referee since 2005, also working in the ECHL and AHL after a brief professional playing career.

McCauley, 47, was born in Georgetown, Ontario and is a second generation NHL referee, his father John working in the NHL and serving as the league’s Director of Officiating from 1986-89. Wes played Division I college hockey at Michigan State as a defenseman, and went on to be an eighth round draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 1990. Although he’d never play in the NHL, McCauley spent a season in the ECHL with the Knoxville Cherokees, and played professionally for five seasons, finishing his playing career in Italy after the 1996-97 season.

After retiring from playing, McCauley decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and join the officiating ranks. He began working junior hockey games in his home province of Ontario, elevating quickly into the ECHL, and in 2001 – the American Hockey League. McCauley made his NHL debut as an official on January of 2003, and after working two AHL Calder Cup Finals, became a full time NHL ref in the 2005-06 season. Since 2013, McCauley has been chosen to work every Stanley Cup Final series, missing the 2018-19 Cup Finals due to injury. In the spring of 2018, he was voted the NHL’s best referee in a poll conducted by the NHL Players Association. On December 23rd, 2018, he worked his 1,000th NHL game in Las Vegas, when the Golden Knights hosted the Los Angeles Kings.

McCauley is a long time resident of South Portland, where his wife, Bethany grew up. The couple have three children. On May 19th, 2019, McCauley was inducted into the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.

Fans will be able to get autographs from McCauley in the concourse during the first intermission of the game on November 15th. There will also be a video compilation on the scoreboard showing some of McCauley’s best “mic’d up moments.” All fans are encouraged to wear officiating stripes to honor Wes. He will finish his night by joining Mariners broadcaster Michael Keeley for commentary in the third period of the webcast on Mixlr and ECHL.tv.

The second season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey kicks off October 11th at home when the Adirondack Thunder visit the Cross Insurance Arena for a 7:15 PM faceoff. Full and half season plans along with 12-game mini plans, flex plans and group tickets are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Single game tickets will go on sale September 16th.

MARINERS ACQUIRE KLIMEK’S RIGHTS FROM KANSAS CITY

PORTLAND, ME – August 5, 2019 – The Maine Mariners announced a trade on Monday, acquiring the rights to defenseman Jordan Klimek from the Kansas City Mavericks in exchange for defensemen Derek Pratt and Garrett Cecere.

Klimek, who will turn 24 on Aug. 18th, is a native of Langley, British Columbia. As a second year player for the Valley West Hawks of the BC Hockey Major Midget League, Klimek led the league in points by a defenseman in the 2011-12 season. He registered 42 points (8 goals, 34 assists) in 40 games. The following season in the BCHL, Klimek won a championship as a part of the Surrey Eagles, scoring six goals and adding 17 assists in 52 regular season games, plus six assists in 17 playoff contests. Klimek then brought his game to the United States Hockey League and the Dubuque Fighting Saints for the 2013-14 season. For Dubuque, he scored two goals with 14 assists in 54 games. He committed to NCAA Division I Northern Michigan University.

Although he scored just one goal over his first three seasons at Northern Michigan, Klimek racked up 25 assists in that span. He was on the WCHA All-Academic Team in his sophomore campaign of 2015-16. In his senior season of 2017-18, Klimek put up career highs in goals, assists, and points with 3 goals and 15 helpers in 43 games. He also served as an alternate captain. Last August, he signed his first professional contract with Kansas City.

This past season, Klimek (5’11, 185 lbs) appeared in 66 of Kansas City’s 72 regular season games, leading the team in +/- rating at +14, and scoring six goals, while adding 12 assists. He registered his first professional point with a goal on October 27th, 2018 against Indy. Klimek also racked up 43 penalty minutes for the Mavericks, including a pair of fighting majors. In six playoff games, he registered one assist. The Mavericks were eliminated in the first round by the Tulsa Oilers.

On July 1st, Klimek was one of eight players issued a qualifying offer by the Mavericks. His rights are now transferred to the Mariners, who will still need to sign him to a contract to add him to the roster. The Mariners blue line is already quite crowded with Josh Couturier, Rich Boyd, Gabriel Sylvestre, and Marc-Olivier Crevier-Morin all under contract. The Mariners also hold the ECHL rights to Scott Savage, Johnny Coughlin and now, Klimek.

Defensemen Derek Pratt and Garrett Cecere were dealt to Kansas City in the trade. Both players were rookies last season for the Mariners and signed contracts earlier in the offseason.

The second season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey kicks off October 11th at home when the Adirondack Thunder visit the Cross Insurance Arena for a 7:15 PM faceoff. Full and half season plans along with 12-game mini plans, flex plans, and group tickets are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Single game tickets will go on sale September 16th.

MARINERS RE-SIGN GOALTENDER BRASSARD

Brassard became the team’s primary netminder in the final two weeks of the 2018-19 season, posting a .917 save percentage in six games.

PORTLAND, ME – August 1, 2019 – The Mariners have locked up their first goaltender for the 2019-20 season, announcing on Thursday the re-signing of Francois Brassard. The rookie netminder was a sixth round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators in 2012 and played six games for the Mariners at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Brassard, a 25-year-old from Gatineau, Quebec, signed with the Mariners on March 20th, shortly after Connor LaCouvee’s recall to the Laval Rocket. He ended up appearing in six of the team’s final seven games, posting a 1-4-0-0 record, a 3.28 GAA, and a .917 SV%. Of his six appearances, four were starts.

“I’m really excited to be back in Portland, especially with the same core of guys as last year,” said Brassard. “I think we had good team chemistry and I’m looking forward to build on what was started in Maine last year.”

Prior to signing in Maine, Brassard had been playing collegiately in Canada for Carleton University (USports), where he posted a 2.02 GAA and .947 SV% in three seasons. It was in the QMJHL, however, that he caught Ottawa’s eye. Brassard played for the Quebec Remparts, Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, and Gatineau Olympiques over a four season junior career. In his final three seasons, Brassard played an average of over 52 games a year, not including playoffs, in which he was involved in two deep President’s Cup runs. In the 2014-15 season, Brassard accomplished a strange but impressive feat, scoring two empty-net goals – one each for Cape Breton and Gatineau.

Although he joined the Mariners from the college ranks, Brassard played five games professionally in the 2015-16 season for the Peoria Rivermen of the SPHL. That season, he went 2-2-0 with a 2.33 GAA and a .903 SV%. His ECHL debut came with the Mariners on March 29th, 2019 at Reading, where he stopped all four shots faced in relief. The following night, Brassard made his first ECHL start, and suffered a tough luck loss at Adirondack, making 43 saves on 46 shots in a 4-2 defeat.

Brassard continued to play well in his next two appearances, but had his first ECHL win elude him until April 5th, when the Mariners got a 4-2 home win over the Worcester Railers, keeping their playoff hopes alive. Brassard stopped 41 of 43 shots. His final appearance came in a losing effort the next night in Manchester, as the Mariners officially saw their postseason aspirations ended by the Monarchs.

The Mariners retained to the ECHL rights to goaltender Connor LaCouvee by issuing him a qualifying offer on July 1st, but LaCouvee signed an AHL deal with the Laval Rocket in June. The Mariners current roster sits at 16 players (nine forwards, six defensemen, one goaltender), with 13 returning from the 2018-19 team. Click here to view the roster.

The second season of Maine Mariners ECHL hockey kicks off October 11th at home when the Adirondack Thunder visit the Cross Insurance Arena for a 7:15 PM faceoff. Full and half season plans along with 12-game mini plans and group tickets are on sale now by calling 833-GO-MAINE or visiting the Mariners front office at 94 Free St. in Portland. Single game tickets will go on sale September 16th.