HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Lewiston Maineiacs’ majority owner Mark Just walked through the tunnel from the dressing room and onto the visitors’ bench at the Halifax Metro Centre on Monday and stared upward, slowly turning in a circle.

He looked more like a tourist than someone familiar with his surroundings.

But, Just is familiar with the ins and outs of the Metro Centre, and with the Halifax Mooseheads. For the better part of the 1990s, Just was a Moosehead, one of several partners who, in conjunction with the Moosehead Brewery, owned the expansion Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team.

Just’s current partner with the Maineiacs, Wendel Young, was also part of that group, as was current Mooseheads’ coach Cam Russell.

“We were all here at the same time,” Just said. “When the opportunity came in Sherbrooke, though, I couldn’t pass that up.”

Just, Young, and current Maineiacs’ president Matt McKnight were all part of the Halifax franchise as it hosted the Memorial Cup Tournament in 2000.

But times have changed.

Sitting in the Metro Centre’s pale orange seats behind the net during the Maineiacs’ morning practice Tuesday, Just shook his head as he watched the Mooseheads prepare for their skate.

“It still sickens me, seeing that team,” Just said. “After what happened last year, and the way we blew it against them. I still think about that just being here.”

Last year, though, the team played at the Halifax Forum, an aging old barn that, from the outside, resembles an armory and seats 5,000 fewer fans than the Metro Centre.

‘Please call home’

The Maineiacs piled into the Citadel Hotel in Halifax just after 7:30 p.m. Atlantic Time on Monday, and coach Clem Jodoin handed out room assignments. As the players filtered through, a call came out from behind the front desk.

“Is there a Peter Delmas on the team?” one of the attendants asked. “There’s a message for Peter Delmas to call home.”

Immediately, the rest of the team started ribbing Delmas.

“Aw, mommy wants you to call home,” one of the players crowed.

“Isn’t that sweet?” another shouted.

Delmas, a native of Bedford, Nova Scotia (a town within the Halifax metro area), stopped short of the elevator and went back to the front desk.

“I just talked to her (on my cell phone),” Delmas said with a shrug. “Oh well.”

Friends for dinner

In addition to Just, Maineiacs’ billet coordinator Ron Guerin also accompanied the team to Halifax aboard the team’s bus, and Stefano Giliati’s father arrived in his own vehicle.

Add them to parts of Delmas’ and Triston Manson’s families, and the East Side Mario’s restaurant where the team ate dinner got a bit crowded.

Manson’s youngest brother, Tanner, was there with his mother, while Delmas’ brother also accompanied his mom. There was no sign of Triston’s other brother, Anton, though. Anton plays for the Shawinigan Cataractes.

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