LEWISTON — They came, they met, they discussed.

Armed with information gathered in a two-day fact-finding and team-building session, facilitator Lloyd Henderson will spend some time formulating a complete business plan for the Lewiston Maineiacs, and will do so around a newly-created mission statement, the most important byproduct of this week’s exercise.

“The strategic meeting was a much-needed assessment of our organization,” Maineiacs’ coach J.F. Houle said. “We are moving forward as an organization, and we are very enthusiastic about our commitment to the community.”

The team’s newly-established mission statement reads as follows:

“The Lewiston Maineiacs’ commitment to excellence extends to all areas of the organization. Player development is a particular focus for on-ice skills, academic excellence and nurturing a well rounded young adult within a protected environment. The team strives to provide superior entertainment value to its fan base, while working to engage with the community in ways to create pride and fan loyalty toward the Maineiacs. Continued growth is a priority, enabling profitable operation.”

“I am excited that we are working toward being successful in this community,” Maineiacs’ majority owner Mark Just said. “It is clear to me after taking part in these meetings that we are moving forward to engage the community to join us along the way. Many companies have already joined us, and we appreciate their continued support.”

The two-day meeting involved all members of the Maineiacs’ front office, as well as the hockey operations staff and many of the volunteers who make up the operations staff, including education coordinator Roger Lachapelle, who’s been involved locally in hockey for more than 40 years.

“The past two days have been very refreshing and productive,” Lachapelle said. “As a longtime resident of the area, I am assured that the (Maineiacs) have made the commitment to be here for many years. I hope the community will continue to support the players and fill the building.”

With the meetings out of the way, Houle and the players returned to the ice to prepare for a mid-week tilt against the Halifax Mooseheads. Suffering at the bottom of the league standings for most of the season, the Mooseheads have played much better hockey in recent weeks, since acquiring former Lewiston goalie Peter Delmas from Quebec.

“We can’t look past these guys,” Houle said. “The danger of playing two really good games against a really good team is that maybe you let down a little after, but we can’t do that, it doesn’t matter where halifax is in the standings. They’re played good hockey the last two weeks or so.”

Delmas was the Canadian Hockey League’s goaltender of the week last week after posting a pair of wins on the front end of a five-game homestand.

The Mooseheads lost the next three, including a 2-1 setback in a shootout to PEI on Sunday.

“They’re giving up a lot less goals than they were, and we need to keep on the pressure like we had last weekend,” Houle said.

With its stronger play since January 1, the Maineiacs remain in 16th place overall in the league standings, but have closed to within five points of both Acadie-Bathurst and Val d’Or, and they are just eight points back of Chicoutimi for 13th overall with 20 games remaining on the schedule.

Faceoff on Wednesday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee is set for 7 p.m.


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