SEASON REFLECTIONS: ZACH TOLKINEN

Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: It was good. I thought we had some ups and downs, like you do in any season. Obviously when the season ended, we were struggling a bit, but I think we were closing in on that playoff spot and we were going to turn it around. Unfortunately, it ended, but at the same time, hockey is not the biggest deal right now when you’ve got so many bigger issues at hand with COVID and everything going on. It’s unfortunate that it ended the way it did and when it did, but there’s not a lot you can do about it obviously.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: There was a lot. The one that really stands out and probably a lot of guys have said is theNewfoundland trip. That was a time when we really came together as a unit. We won three out of four up there. At that time, they were riding an 18-game unbeaten streak at home. When we went in there, we were able to get a win on the second night. They broke the record the first night that we were up there. For us to win three straight, I think it really gave us confidence going down the stretch there, for what kind of team we are and what kind of team we can be. That was big and that was fun to be a part of. Everybody was pulling the same rope when were up there. For me, that was one that brought us together as a group and stands out in my head. 

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: I’m going to say the Make-a-Wish jerseys. I think that’s a very special cause, and then you get those kids to show up. All of those kids created designs and they were excited about them, and then they were able to come out on the ice and drop a puck. That was pretty cool to me,  just to be a part of something where you’re supporting them. Obviously, the money from those jerseys goes back to the Make-a-Wish program. I think that’s a very, very special program. To me, that’s one that I enjoy and one that I kind of have a soft spot for. I’m lucky that I get to be a part of that. That’s something that’s pretty cool and those kids are amazing kids. Any chance that you get to spend a little time with them or get in a picture with them or anything like that is obviously very special

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: Wow! There are a bunch of them! I thought that Ted Hart did a nice job. He was a kid that didn’t start on our roster on day one but came in and wherever he was put in the lineup, he did a nice job and he is a real fun kid to be around. He is a Maine native, obviously. Ryan Ferrill is another that impresses me every night. His ability to do EVERYTHING! He doesn’t care who gets the accolades or anything like that. He just puts his hard hat and work boots on and comes to that rink. There were days that we asked him to play defense, and I’m sure the last time he played defense was probably when he was a squirt, and he pops up there and is willing to do that. He’s never grumbling or anything. He shows up every day and is willing to work. That’s a guy that I think that I learn from, and I really do, not only appreciate, but admire his attitude and the way that he approaches every day. I think [Francois] Brassard, and [Connor] LaCouvee as well. Brass was able to come in and maybe wasn’t get the starts at first, but he is another guy that comes in with a smile on his face and works hard. Terrence Wallin had a great season. He impressed me with his ability every night to bring it. He scored some big goals for us. I’m sure I’m leaving some guys out here, but those are just a few names that jump out to me. I could just go through the list. There are just so many guys who impressed me on a night to night basis, but those are a few names off the top of my head. I can’t forget about Foxy (Dillan Fox) as a guy who really impressed me. There’s a guy who has worked his way up and has been better every year. He earned a chance in the American League this year because of what he brought every day in the Coast. He takes a beating but doesn’t stop going to the dirty areas every night. I have to include him in that list. I could go down the list and say something good about everyone and what they bring, and I know I’m still leaving guys off, but it wouldn’t have been fair to say names and not include that one.

Q: Did you meet any of your personal goals? If so, what were they?

A: I see the team side of goals. Obviously, I have individual goals as well, and that I don’t think I hit on all of those. I left some room for improvement, which is not a bad thing. As a team I think, was getting into playoffs and make it happen. We, for sure, needed to be a playoff team and I think that is something that you can’t say we were necessarily. I think we were trending that way for sure, with the 10 or 11 games left that we had in the season. I think that was a team goal as well as a personal goal. After that, as far as goals, we obviously want to win a Kelly Cup. That didn’t pan out quite the way we planned, but I guess we will have to see what happens with that in the future of the Maine Mariners.

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: Yeah, we appreciate all of the support! Obviously tough times right now, but we appreciate you guys showing up every day and cheering us on. That means a lot and we couldn’t do this without you guys, so we appreciate that. Everybody, stay safe and we will get through this thing together!

SEASON REFLECTIONS: RYAN FERRILL

Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: I think it went pretty well for us. We were in a playoff spot when the season ended, so it was unfortunate that that happened, but it was definitely a little bit better than last year when we weren’t in the playoffs. So it was good to build off the first year to get the Mariners into a playoff spot for the second year.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: My favorite moment off the ice was when were in Newfoundland for that four-game stretch. We won three of them. It was a good team bonding moment to be up there for a week together. It was a great road trip, to take three from them while they were on that long win streak, so to win there was great! Obviously, it’s a very different area than the rest of North America in general. The hotel is right on the water, so walking along that little water line is great, it’s great scenery. And then to have the rookie party there, to have team bonding to get together was great too!

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: I’ll have to go with the Miracle night! Wearing those jerseys as an American was kind of nostalgic, knowing what they did in 1980 and they’re just really cool jerseys. We had everything going, the socks too. We had the old-time socks, not the new material, they were the old cotton ones, so it was pretty cool.

 

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: I’d have to go with Ted Hart. He got sent down to the SPHL for the first couple weeks and then he came back. When he was playing with Alex Kile and Terrence Wallin, that line was on fire for probably a month or two. He was doing really well. For him to come back and then have double digit goals, he just had a great year. I though he played really well. Then being a hometown kid and also playing with his brother, that’s got to be pretty cool for him.

Q: Did you meet any of your personal goals? If so, what were they?

A: Honestly, just playing two years of pro hockey at this point. It was a goal of mine since growing up to play pro hockey, playing college and everything. It’s been great playing for two years and I’d like to keep going.

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: I would just like to thank them for always supporting us the last two years, even during losing stretches for us, they’d still be out there supporting us, weeknight games, they’d  be there, so I just want to say thank you for all the support that they have given us.

SEASON REFLECTIONS: BRIAN HART

Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: When I showed up there were limited guys playing. I think there were only nine forwards, a lot of injuries, and guys up [in the AHL]. I think we ended up losing a bunch of games right when I signed, but the following two months ended up being fun. We got on a bit of a run, started playing better hockey. I only played a short window of the season, but I thought we were playing good hockey before everything hit the fan.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: The road trip to St. Johns, Newfoundland. I’m sure a lot of the guys are saying that! That was the defining moment for the team. The rookie party was great. I really liked going out with the team and bonding on the road. I played three games, but I was on the radio with Mike Keeley the other, that was a special moment. That was the first time that I’ve ever got the chance to do color commentary for games, so that was a special experience for me, and I was lucky enough for Keels to let me go back on for a couple more. I like going up there! I looked at the game way differently after doing that.

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: The Miracle night, those jerseys were awesome! It was a great looking uniform. The shells were sweet! I tried out for the USA World Juniors when I was 19, but I got cut, so unfortunately, I never got wear the [USA] jersey. You can’t beat wearing these jerseys, especially with the Maine touch too, being from Maine.

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: I thought [Terrence] Wallin impressed me the most because he was just so consistent for us. He had some injuries, but he was just playing through it. He was scoring, he was a great leader. I didn’t know him too well before the season, but I was lucky to meet him! I have a friend out of him now. He’s a great guy, and his game, I mean, he was great every night, so I’d say Wallin. He was one of the more consistent guys that I have played with! 

Q: Did you meet any of your personal goals? If so, what were they?

A: I was just happy to play with Ted and for my hometown team! That was always a goal, something I’ve always wanted to do, so being able to do that was pretty sweet. We did joke about [getting our older brother, Kevin on the ice] a little bit. Tolkinen played with him too and he was always joking about getting him on. We were down to five defensemen once, but it never materialized, unfortunately. That would have been awesome.

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: I would just like to thank the fans. They were great and they were really nice to myself and Ted, really supportive. Hopefully we will see them back this fall. Just thank you to everyone!

SEASON REFLECTIONS: CONNOR LACOUVEE

Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: I feel like it was great season. It’s so weird to talk about the season with how it ended, but I think Mariners’ fans and Mariners’ players have a lot to look forward to. I think we had a similar start to the previous year, but our team grew a lot from last year to this year. There were a lot of improvements, like executing our systems, and being more even keel as a team. We had a young team last year, and maybe this year too, but there was a lot of improvement from last year. It would have been nice to play the last couple regular season games and see where we ended up in the playoff picture, either third or fourth place. It would have been awesome to have some playoff games at the Cross Insurance Arena. With our group of guys that are coming back, the sky is the limit.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: I’m going to have to agree with the guys, it’s when we went up to Newfoundland and won three of those games out of the four there. That was a blast. It was the best of both worlds, a lot of team success, obviously winning three of the four games and the guys were playing very well. Then it was awesome to have that level of team camaraderie, getting to have the rookie party out there. Road trips are always so fun, and they’re even better when you’re winning. That whole road trip was awesome, it did wonders for the composition of the team. I think we were just peaking at the right time, kind of finding our groove. That was definitely one of the high points of our season.

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: On the Miracle night, I thought the setup we had with the jerseys and socks, the colors, I thought that was pretty sharp! I liked the school game in Reading. The school game is so cool to see all of the young kids there. I like playing in front of a bunch of kids, getting them out of school and grow the game a bit.

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: I can name a few guys. I think [Ryan] Culkin had such a great season. He really exploded offensively. I think he was the best defenseman in the entire league when he was with us. He was playing so well, and I was really happy for him that he got called up to Laval at certain points. It’s tough, you obviously want that guy to do well and succeed, but he’s such a good player when he was playing with us. He was one guy that was super impressive. I thought he stepped it up a lot from last year, he was so dominant. Foxy (Dillan Fox) had a great season, especially an incredible first half, getting called up to Hartford. This guy played in the SPHL last year, came to Maine, reisigned with Maine, led the team in goals and got called up to the AHL. That was super impressive, making his way from getting his call to come to Maine, becoming an everyday guy, to be a guy who excels, to being a guy that gets called up and gets an opportunity at the next level. AK (Alex Kile) struggled a bit early on in the season, missing a couple games, but when he came back, he was so dominant. He’s such an amazing playing, so crafty, so skilled, just so dynamic out there. He is super impressive to watch handle the puck. Sean Day is another one. It’s so impressive the way he can just take over the game with his skating. Especially in this league, he is definitely the most impactful player out there some nights. It’s weird to see him in the Coast when you’ve seen a couple of his moves does.

Q: Did you meet any of your personal goals? If so, what were they?

A: It’s tough to say. I do have personal goals, but they are more related to the team doing well and working hard each day, compete each day, and be a good teammate. The personal goals would be like winning in the playoffs, being the starting goalie, working as hard as I can. I gravitate a bit away from trying to set statistical goals because especially as a goalie, there are so many things that uncontrollable. There were a lot of games that I felt like I played a really good game, but I let in three goals. Then there are some games where I got a shutout or let in one, but I wasn’t satisfied with that game. Just as a general rule, I started more games than I did last year, won more games than I did last year, more shutouts. The only things that I would have wanted more of this season were getting to play those last games, getting to play in the playoffs, getting to play in Laval like I did last year. That was a bit upsetting, but those are out of my control. That’s why I set smaller goals of playing well, having fun, and being a good teammate because those are controllable things.

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: Thank you so much for supporting us all year! We have some amazing fans. We appreciate everything that they’ve done for us. I really wish we could have gotten to play in the playoffs for everyone, because that would have been such a cool experience. The Cross Insurance Arena would have been rocking! Looking forward to next season and I hope to see everyone there!

SEASON REFLECTIONS: FRANCOIS BRASSARD

 Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: I think the season went really well. We built up on the season prior, obviously we had the same core group. We had great chemistry on and off the ice. The guys were really trying to get better every night and put the work in every day. We had a good chance at making a push in the playoffs.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: My favorite moment was the Newfoundland trip where we were able to get three out of four and spent ten days on the road with the guys. That’s really when we kind of knew we had a chance to get into the playoffs and make that push. That was a statement trip for us. It was pretty cold with freezing rain, but it was a pretty fun experience to be around the guys.”

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: The ‘Meet the Season Ticket Holders’ event is always fun! We got to play some corn hole and play some games with them. It’s nice to meet the people that are there every night. They really appreciate us playing hard. Getting to meet them is always fun!

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: I’m going to have to go with my roommate, Ted Hart. He came in and got sent down to the SPHL for a couple games and then he came in and was there every night for us working hard. I think he is one of them that is going to be a part of the core group again next year and he really stuck with the guys. He’s in the corners a lot, he’s fun to watch. So, Ted was really that guy for me!

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: Of course, I just want to thank them for showing up every night. They were really loud, especially on the weekend games, people singing a lot and stuff. It makes the game enjoyable and obviously seeing them all buying our jerseys and meeting them on the concourse after games, it’s always nice to see and hear how appreciative they are and how they have fun at the games. They come up to us when they see us on the streets, in the restaurants, so the fan base in Maine is really good!

SEASON REFLECTIONS: ALEX KILE

 Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: It definitely was better than last year. We just had more guys bought in. We would have made playoffs too, which was a bonus, but I just feel like we were all more bought in defensively. We just had a better team this from the defensive standpoint. The offense was about the same, but defense is obviously more important.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: That stretch in December when we beat Adirondack in the six games. That was a great stretch for us. Everybody says the Newfoundland trip, but that is true. We went up there and had our rookie party. We got to explore the city a little bit and won some big games, three in a row. That was definitely the highlight of the season. Our rookies explored the whole city and had to “get screeched”, you have to kiss a fish and it means that you have officially been in Newfoundland. They got to connect with the locals and talk to them, ask them questions. It was a lot of fun!

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: From a jersey standpoint, I like the USA jerseys, those were clean. I also liked the Make-a-Wish night because I know how much it means to the kids the designed the jerseys. I have personal experience with that, with my buddy’s sister. It means a lot to those kids, so that cool!

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: Obviously when you think about the season, you think of guys that are playing the most, like 

Bleackley, Wallin, Fox, McNicholas, but I definitely want to give credit to a kid that doesn’t get credit at all, that is Ryan Ferrill. He is a kid that has been with us for two years now. He did not complain one time. He’s a great teammate, even when he is scratched, he’s not complaining. We moved him back to defense at the end of the year and did really well. He fights, he hits, he blocks more shots than anybody. So, I’d like to give him some credit too. Another guy that comes to mind is Brian Hart, another kid that doesn’t get credit. He came to us in the middle of the year, and I know that feeling of joining a new team and you don’t really know what to expect, but at the end of the year he was probably our most liked guy on the team. He’s hilarious, everybody loved him, he is always happy! I liked seeing him come to the team and fitting in so well. He’s the best, everybody loves him!

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: Yeah, for sure! They were great. The thing that I definitely notice with the fans was, even when we were losing, the following game, they were even stronger than before. At the end of the year, I think we lost four games in a row. All four of those games were great crowds. No matter if we’re winning or losing, they support us, which definitely helps. There are teams in the league that don’t win a lot and you can tell by their fanbase. When we’re losing games, they were still there, which is good!

SEASON REFLECTIONS: TERRENCE WALLIN

Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: As a team, I think it was a lot better than last year because we were able to return a core and we knew what our jobs were. Going into the year too we were gaining chemistry, which was nice. We lost a couple there at the end, but this year was going to have a better fate than the last, like we were going to make playoffs and potentially make a run with guys coming back from the AHL. So overall, I think it was a success. It is an unfortunate way to end the year. I think if we were to have gotten into playoffs, it would have been a real fun time for us and our fans.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: I know a lot of guys have said Newfound and that probably is the best time. Going up there and winning three out of four, we had some fun up there as a team. I think that was a really good bonding experience for the guys that were there, because it is hard to find bonding in this league with guys going in and out of the AHL of the SPHL, so that was a really good turning point for our season to get all of the guys on the same track.

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: I really liked the Miracle jerseys! Those were awesome. It was really nice that we had the shells to match with it too. The Shells tied the whole uniform together pretty well and made it look really legit. That was a good one and the Make-a-Wish one’s were good. We weren’t sure what to expect but those came out really cool. They were colorful it was cool that [Ellie] got to do that!

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: There is a couple guys. The difference between Ty Ronning last year and this year was a big improvement to me. I think he realized that there is a lot more to pro hockey than scoring and he really solidifies his game all over the place. [Dillan Fox] came back and had a huge year! There were some nights where if he wasn’t rolling, our whole team wasn’t rolling. I think Ryan Culkin was a stud all year for us. He went up and down a couple times, but whenever he came back, he had a good attitude. He played shut down minutes for us.

Q: Did you meet any of your personal goals? If yes, what were they?

A: A couple years ago I had 50 points, so that was a goal for me to get back to that mark and I fell short, but obviously the season was shortened, so who knows if I would have gotten it. Getting 20 goals and 20 assists was nice! It’s always a goal to obviously get as many points as you can, but for me to get to that 20/20 mark was pretty nice.

 

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: Thank you! I have kind of immersed myself in the community with my [Evolution Hockey Camps] and all that good stuff. People have been so awesome helping out with camp stuff. I think a lot of that falls over into the Mariners, because a lot of them have become Mariners fans and they’ve supported not just me, but our entire team. The fanbase is awesome. It feels like every single night, it’s not an off night at the Cross Insurance Arena. It always feels like it’s a good crowd in the stands cheering us on!

SEASON REFLECTIONS: JOSH COUTURIER

Q: Overall how do you feel the season went?

A: Overall I think the season went well. I think we started slow, but overall, with the leadership group we had this year, we were able to settle everyone down and go forward from there. Obviously, we were most likely going to make playoffs, so that really stinks to have this whole thing happen and not be able to make a push for the Kelly Cup, but it is what it is at this point. Overall, I did think it was a really good season.

Q: What was your favorite moment during this season?

A: My favorite moment was definitely the Newfoundland trip. Playing the reigning champs, best team in the league, to go there and take three out of four was just something in itself. Being able to explore Newfie with the guys, go out, have some fun, as well as take care of business. That was the most fun, for me.

Q: What was your favorite promotional night?

A: I thought the Miracle night was sick! That was my favorite honestly. I was able to get my jersey too! As someone who lives in the United States and grew up with Miracle being one of my favorite movies, I mean, I never got to put on the USA sweater, like some of the guys like Scotty [Savage]. To be able to put it on was just so cool wearing those colors. That was the most fun. I got hit in the chin and I was bleeding all over my jersey, I really thought that was pretty cool. It was very well done, all around from the staff down.

Q: Which of your teammates were you most impressed with?

A: This could go around to a lot of guys, but the guy I was really impressed with was Ty Ronning. Just from last year, his first-year pro, he went home that summer and got stronger and got his skills better, and it showed. He was up most of the year. He was my roommate for a bit, and I got to know him even better. Overall, I think I was most impressed with him.

Q: Did you meet any of your personal goals? If yes, what were they?

A: Something that I did that I really take pride in is when I was hurt, I went on the bench, tried to help guys out, guys that were struggling, I’d take them out to dinner and settle them down and be there for them whenever they needed something. That’s something that I’m pretty proud of. Not being able to play, to be able to do that and help the team in a different way. I definitely enjoyed it. I work with kids in the summer at camps, so to be able to coach your colleges was pretty cool in itself, and they gave me the respect that they would any other coach, which was pretty cool. I think coaching is definitely something that I would be interested in.

Q: Is there anything that you want to say to the fan base?

A: Honestly, thank you! I think we have the best fans in the league. They support us all the time. We go out in the community, whether we are going out for a beer or helping out in a school, it’s so fulfilling when the work that you do really rubs off on the fans. They come to the games and support us, win or lose. They still come up to us and say, “good game”. I got pretty close with one of the season ticket holders, Travis Blake, we have the same birthday. He was great, just checking in, how was I doing, since I was hurt all the time. It is real exciting and it’s pretty cool overall to have your fans really care about you.