LEWISTON — Defenseman Eric Gelinas holds a special place in the hearts of Lewiston Maineiacs fans.

He also now holds a unique place in Lewiston hockey history after skating for the Albany Devils against the Portland Pirates Wednesday in the Devils 3-2 shootout victory at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee: Gelinas is the only player to have skated against each of the building’s two most recent anchor tenants in their final games at the Colisee.

Though only 22 years old (he turns 23 in May), Gelinas’ junior hockey days are far behind him, though his affinity for the city in which he played remains.

“It brought back some memories,” Gelinas said. “It was pretty fun to play in front of my old billet family and in the first rink I played in for juniors. It was kind of neat.”

Gelinas had a solid season for the Devils’ organization, spending 60 games with the New Jersey Devils of the NHL, much of that time on the team’s power play units.

“I was really happy to get the call the first time after a month here this year,” Gelinas said. “I think I had a pretty good season. I was really happy the way it went. Not perfect, obviously, but for a rookie season, I was really happy with it.”

A top NHL prospect from an early age, Gelinas skated for the Maineiacs for two-and-a-half seasons before being traded to Chicoutimi via Cape Breton in a trade that was ultimately designed to help Lewiston make a second run at a league title.

That dream ended after the 2011 season, when team ownership sold the team to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and the league dissolved the franchise.

But not before the Maineiacs made a surprising run in the playoffs to the league semifinals, where they played a loaded Saint John Sea Dogs squad. Earlier that season, the Sea Dogs acquired Gelinas from Chicoutimi for a playoff run.

The Sea Dogs swept the Maineiacs from the playoffs that season, the final game of which took place April 27. Gelinas had a goal and was a plus-2.

He played the 2011-12 and 2012 seasons with Albany in the AHL, collecting 22 goals and 27 assists in 132 games.

This season, after starting the season in Albany, the Devils recalled Gelinas, who skated in 60 NHL games, collecting seven goals and 22 assists.

With the NHL Devils out of the playoffs, Gelinas was sent back down for Albany’s playoff push in the AHL, and Gelinas skated for the Devils in Lewiston Wednesday against the Portland Pirates, who have called the Colisee home this season after a lease disagreement with their normal home, the Cumberland County Civic Center.

A more recent scheduling conflict with a circus led the Pirates to relocate their final home game to Saco. And the new five-year lease between the Pirates and the Civic Center in Portland precludes the Pirates from playing regular-season games in Lewiston, meaning Gelinas was again on the ice for a team’s final contest at the Lewiston arena.


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