For the first time, the Maine Nordiques hit the ice this past weekend when 106 players took part in the pre-draft camp as the first step toward building the Tier II NAHL team.

The camp started Friday at the William B. Troubh Ice Arena in Portland with six teams who played games through Saturday night. On Sunday, the roster was cut down to two teams for an all-star game Sunday.

“It was a great weekend overall,” Nordiques director of player recruitment/advancement Cam Robichaud said. “… It was the first hockey being played with all the staff members being in the arena at one time. It was really exciting for myself, Nolan Howe (director of hockey operations/head coach) and Matt Pinchevsky (director of player development/wellness and assistant coach), we technically never had tryouts over the past few years because we hand selected our players at the respective levels we were coaching at.”

All but three tenders made it to Portland for the camp. Alex Rivet (Middlesex School) and Derek Hessinger (Shattuck-St. Mary’s) couldn’t make it to the camp because of their respective graduations that were held over the weekend. Trent Grimshaw missed the camp due to a personal matter.

The staff thought the tenders who hit the ice had a solid weekend.

“I don’t want to give any individual praise before we post guys that will be on the active roster,” Robichaud said. “We want to continue the mentality of guys earning their position with this program in year one. But, overall, all of our tenders performed extremely well.”

Members of last year’s Tier III L/A Nordiques team also took part, such as Sam Frechette, who took part in the Twin City Thunder camp last month, Sergei Anisimov, Josh Malone and Cole Ouellette, who is also a Maine Nordiques tender.

“They all did really well. I think we had a really strong team last year and those guys were some of our better players on our roster last year,” Robichaud said. “They definitely weren’t ducks out of water, they all competed hard and did well. I was proud to see it. That was the whole point of playing for us last year was to develop to get to this level.”

Robichaud, who was the head coach of the L/A Nordiques, also brought in JP Chauvin and Donovan Tehan to fill out a few roster spots that were vacated due to injuries to players that were planning to attend the camp. Both are scheduled to play college hockey next year, as Tehan is committed to Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Chauvin is heading to New England College in Heniker, New Hampshire.

Will Fletcher, who signed a tender with the L/A Nordiques for the upcoming season, took part in the camp. He led St. Dom’s this past season 29 goals and 18 assists in 21 games as a junior as the school captured its 26th Class A state championship in March.

Other Mainers who participated in the camp include defenseman Tommy Carr, a York native who played for the Islanders Hockey Club U18 team, and South Portland/Freeport/Waynflete’s Liam McGibbon, who was one of the 12 goalies who took part in the camp.

PICKING NO. 1

Last week the North American Hockey League held a “coin toss” between the Nordiques and the other expansion team in 2019-20 season, the New Mexico Ice Wolves. Instead of using a coin, the NAHL used a puck with each side containing a logo of one of the teams.

The Nordiques won the toss and will be picking first next Tuesday.

The past three years, the number one pick has primarily played outside of the NAHL the following season. Robichaud, while not tipping his hand as to who will be picked, believes the player the Nordiques will select will start the year in Lewiston.

“That’s a very important pick, and we are very excited in our first season to be getting the first pick,” Robichaud said. “That was exciting news to cap off our camp this weekend. With that pick, we will be selecting a player that will be with the Nordiques for next season.

“If they have the opportunity to move up to a higher tier (of junior hockey) like the (United States Hockey League), we will help assist advancing them there. But all expectations are the selection will be used on a player that will have an opportunity to be in Lewiston in the upcoming year.”

Having the camp this past weekend also gave a staff to look at players that they may take in the NAHL Draft.

After the draft, the Nordiques will have an open camp in Bristol, Pennsylvania, from June 16-18. Then, July 26-28 will be the team’s main camp, to which Robichaud expects the team to invite 40-50 players to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

The Nordiques will start training camp Aug. 19, and by Sept. 1, the Nordiques need to have its roster to 25 players. On Oct. 1, the roster will need to be down to 23 players.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: