Maine Mariners

The Maine Mariners were an ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They played in Portland, Maine, at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Maine Mariners
CityPortland, Maine
LeagueAmerican Hockey League
Founded1977 (First franchise)
1987 (Second franchise)
Operated19771987 (First franchise)
19871992 (Second franchise)
Home arenaCumberland County Civic Center
Colorsorange and black; black and gold (when Boston Bruins affiliate)
AffiliatesPhiladelphia Flyers,
New Jersey Devils,
Boston Bruins
Franchise history
First Franchise
1977–1987Maine Mariners
1987–1993Utica Devils
1993–2003Saint John Flames
2005–2007Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights
2007–2009Quad City Flames
2009–2014Abbotsford Heat
2014–2015Adirondack Flames
2015–presentStockton Heat
Second Franchise
1987–1992Maine Mariners
1992–presentProvidence Bruins
Regular season titlesthree (1977–78, 1978–79), 1983–84
Division Championshipsfive (1977–78,
1978–79, 1980–81,
1984–85, 1987–88)
Calder Cupsthree (1977–78,
1978–79, 1983–84)


First franchise

Once the Cumberland County Civic Center began construction in 1976, there was discussion of the building hosting a minor league hockey franchise. Three franchises eventually made bids to play hockey in Portland: the WHA's Quebec Nordiques, the American Hockey League's Providence Reds, and the Philadelphia Flyers from the National Hockey League. Quebec, who had already a farm team in nearby Lewiston (the Maine Nordiques of the North American Hockey League), was considering supporting affiliates in Portland as well. Rhode Island, who were an established AHL franchise, didn't want to relocate to Portland, but instead proposed scheduling a dozen regular season games there. Philadelphia was the only franchise that wanted to utilize Portland as their team's sole top-level farm club, and in 1977, the agreement to create the Maine Mariners was struck. It proved to be bad news for the Maine Nordiques, who ceased operations after the 1977 season.

Bob McCammon was the team's first head coach. The first regular season game in franchise history was played in Portland in front of 6,566 spectators on October 15, 1977 against the Binghamton Dusters.

The Mariners are the only franchise in league history to win the Calder Cup title in their first two seasons (1977–78, 1978–79) and at the time were the only team to ever capture the Calder Cup during their inaugural season. Later, the feat was matched by the team that brought AHL hockey back to Portland, the Portland Pirates.

Maine returned to the Calder Cup final in 1980–81 and first-year goaltender Pelle Lindbergh became the only goaltender in AHL history, and just the third player ever, to win the AHL regular season MVP and AHL outstanding rookie award in the same season. Bob McCammon won his second AHL coach of the year award.

In 1983–1984, the Flyers sold the Mariners to the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. However, it kept the Flyers' colors of orange, black and white rather than switch to the Devils' black, red and green. The same season Maine became only the fourth team in AHL history to win a Calder Cup title with a losing regular season record. The Mariners defeated the Rochester Americans in a rematch of the previous year’s finals four games to one. It was the local’s third Calder Cup crown and their fifth finals appearance in seven years. Maine’s championship year was truly a team effort as no members of the club made the all-star team, won a league award during the regular season, or placed in the regular season top ten in scoring. Bud Stefanski was the first recipient of the new AHL playoff MVP award.

Second franchise

Following the 1986–87 season, the original Mariners franchise was moved to Utica, New York as the Utica Devils. However, Portland was not without hockey, as the league approved an expansion team supplied by players from the Boston Bruins. The expansion team assumed the Mariners name and history and took on the Bruins' black-gold-white scheme. After five seasons in Portland, the Mariners franchise was moved to Providence, Rhode Island following the 1991–92 season and renamed the Providence Bruins. The final Mariners home game took place on April 4, 1992 against the Fredericton Canadiens.

Portland was not without AHL hockey for long; a season later, the Portland Pirates arrived and played in Portland until 2016 when the franchise was relocated to become the Springfield Thunderbirds.

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Season-by-season results

Regular season

1977–788043289953052561st, North
1978–79804522131033502521st, North
1979–8080412811933072663rd, North
1980–818045287973192921st, North
1981–8280472671013252722nd, North
1982–838039338863423093rd, North
1983–8480333611773103123rd, North
1984–8580383210862962661st, North
1985–868040319892742852nd, North
1986–878035405752722985th, North
1987–8880442574993082841st, North
1988–898032408722623175th, North
1989–9080313811732943175th, North
1990–9180343412802692845th, North
1991–9280234710562963525th, North


SeasonPrelim1st round2nd roundFinals
1977–78byeW, 4–3, NSW, 4–1, NH
1978–79byeW, 4–2, NSW, 4–0, NH
1979–80W, 4–2, NSL, 2–4, NB
1980–81W, 4–3, SPRW, 4–3, NBL, 2–4, ADIR
1981–82L, 1–3, NS
1982–83W, 4–3, NSW, 4–2, FREDL, 0–4, ROCH
1983–84W, 4–3, ADIRW, 4–1, NSW, 4–1, ROCH
1984–85W, 4–2, NSL, 1–4, SHER
1985–86L, 1–4, MONC
1986–87Out of playoffs.
1987–88W, 4–1, NSL, 1–4, FRED
1988–89Out of playoffs.
1989–90Out of playoffs.
1990–91L, 7–12, FRED
1991–92Out of playoffs.

Two game combined total goals series.

Notable players


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