AUBURN — With the water flowing over the rocks at the great falls slowed to a trickle, the sun sank low and started to cast long shadows and soft light over the brick mill facades of Lewiston.

From behind the line of rush-hour traffic, a few heads bobbed down Main St. And then a few more. And then a swarm of teenaged hockey players, clad in matching gray shirts and blue ball caps followed.

In what Maineiacs officials said was a precursor of things to come, the team’s hockey staff and the players walked Tuesday from the Androscoggin Bank Colisee to the Hilton Garden Inn in a show of support for the community. They walked as a group to a small, riverside concert on the Hilton’s back lawn. They mingled with each other, with fans and with billet families. Lewy, the team’s mascot, joined them, and made a quick appearance at the Longley Bridge on the Auburn side to wave to traffic.

Shortly thereafter, the team retired into the Hilton’s banquet room. There, a team dinner and a meeting for the players and their families. After that? Players met their billet families, the people with whom they will stay during training camp.

It was the last easy night the players will have for a while, and a fitting welcome to the cities that up to 25 of them will call home for the next several months.

The players get down to business at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, with a team stretch, followed by three hours of off-ice testing, including a mile run and several agility and strength tests.

The players will hit the ice for the first time Thursday morning. Goalies report at 7 a.m., the rest of the first wave of players at 7:45.


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