Team's departure leaves mixture of emotions behind

The Maineiacs are finished and the recriminations have begun.

But before we get into that, it's worth recognizing one fact — there were eight years of great hockey here, none of which would have been possible without a lot of community support.

Many people deserve applause.

Above all, thanks go to the dedicated billet families that took players into their homes and treated them like their own sons.

It was an amazing reciprocal experience for most. Players and families formed relationships that will last a lifetime.

Without them, none of this would have been possible.

Then there was Lewy's Legion, a dedicated booster club that helped generate community support, raise money for the team and support it in a hundred different practical ways.

There was also the core group of season ticket holders, corporate sponsors and fans. That support rose and fell with the success of the team and the missteps of management.

But thousands of people bought tickets and cheered for the team.

Thanks also go to the young men who played their hearts out for the team and the fans.

They lived in the community and were loved and admired. Many became role models for young people and aspiring hockey players.

Finally, thanks should also go to Mark Just, Wendell Young, Paul Spellman and the other investors in the team. Yes, thanks.

They took a chance on Lewiston, sunk their money into the club and struggled for eight years to find a way to make this work.

Yes, there were miscues and miscalculations along the way. Some that could easily have been avoided and some that could not.

The Maineiacs faced some difficult hurdles because of their U.S. location. Travel expenses were high and many competing teams had much more favorable arena arrangements with their home communities.

Fan rivalries were difficult to establish with communities most Americans had never visited and could not picture.

But there is no denying that mistakes were made.

Mark Just certainly loved hockey and the team. Many times, however, he seemed completely clueless about forming corporate, community and fan connections.

Unfortunate things were said. People were offended. Good coaches were followed by bad ones.

Nurturing was necessary. But Just and some of the people he hired early on just didn't get it.

We have already pointed out the thousands of people who supported this team with everything they had.

Naturally, in any community, there is also a large group of people who are not sports fans or couldn't afford to attend the games.

That's to be expected.

But, from day one, there were also the cynics and complainers. They were loud and constant.

"Give 'em two years," was a typical prediction. "They will never make it."

For as many good things that have happened and are happening in L-A, there is a segment of our population that simply refuses to believe that positive things can happen or will last.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary.

In the end, however, the team did not succeed for many reasons.

But bravo to all the people who embraced the dream and thought it could.

rrhoades@sunjournal.com

The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the ownership and editorial board.

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Comments

Steve  Dosh's picture

Team's departure leaves mixture of emotions behind

. . Tsk ., tsk . .... Remember the Maine ! Nordiques ! Aloha from an other State w/o a major league team of any sort . ...( We got our Pro Bowl ® back , though :)

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Nothing personal, Steve, but

Nothing personal, Steve, but the Pro Bowl has turned into a potentially career ending joke. Who in Heaven's name thought having it the week before the Super Bowl was a good idea?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The real tragedy is that Mark

The real tragedy is that Mark Just sold it to the QMJHL rather than another private enterprise. In so doing, he hammered the nails into the coffin of the Lewiston Mainiacs. It's a Canadian league and they (the league), and every team in the league knew that the Lewiston Mainiacs were stocked up with a caliber of players who were good enough to "take it all" in 2011-2012.They were going to kick ass, and the league knew this, and thus disbanded the team rather than have a team from the Sates take their precious Cup once again.Gutless bastards.
Hopefully, our day will come again.

TheMaineiacs

Rex,
your editoral hit the nail right on the head, itwas a very accurate depiction of what hapened here in my opinion, Iunderstand that some avid fans were already discussing the possibility of another team coming to Lewiston tonight at Gippers, I do not have any idea if that is arealistic possibility, butit does show that this cummunity has developed an apetite for this high level of hockey!

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