The Maine Nordiques will hit the ice at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee for the first time when the expansion Tier II NAHL franchise opens up its main camp Friday.

“We are thrilled to be in our home venue to showcase some of the talent of our players to the fans that may come out, and we are looking forward to it,” Maine Nordiques director of player recruitment and advancement Cam Robichaud said.

Forty-four players will be split up between two teams — Red and Blue — and the Maine Nordiques Development Program U18 out of Bristol, Pennsylvania, will also be competing this weekend in practices and in scrimmages.

Camp opens to the public Friday morning with Team Red and Team Blue facing off at 11 a.m.

Saturday, Team Red will practice from 10-11 a.m. followed by a scrimmage between Team Blue and the U18 team at 11:30 a.m. Team Blue will practice from 4-5 p.m., and Team Red will take on the U18 team at 5:30 p.m.

The camp will close Sunday with another Red-vs.-Blue game at noon, which is being called the “Maine Event” by the organization.

The entire weekend is free to the public.

“It’s similar to the past when the (Lewiston Maineiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) were here,” Robichaud said. “They had the intrasquad games that fans would show up in the evening. Typically you didn’t see fans at the testing or the practices. We are kind of doing a similar type of camp.”

The Nordiques are one of the final teams in the NAHL to hold their main camp (the league allows teams through to Aug. 4 to do so).

From the main camp, the Nordiques’ aim is to cut the Tier II roster from 44 to 30 players for training camp, which runs from Aug. 19-25.

Many United States Hockey League (Tier I) and NAHL teams don’t usually open up their main camps to the public.

“I think because our camp is the 44 players rather than a large amount — some teams invite (150-200) players, they might not know right away exactly who they are taking, and it may be a longer process to decide on those players,” Robichaud said. “Maybe they don’t want those names to get out to potentially other teams or coaches. But for us, we are almost down to that training camp feel. There’s only 44 players, and for most of these players we already own their rights with tenders or draft picks.”

Robichaud said most of the tenders and draft picks that the team acquired through the spring will be attending, such as Lewiston natives Alex Rivet and Cole Ouellette, who played for the NA3HL’s L/A Nordiques last season. All 44 players are on the “bubble,” and no one has locked up a roster spot heading into the weekend.

“Honestly, this is a make-or-break weekend for everyone,” Robichaud said. “We are in our expansion year, everyone has to earn a roster spot right up to opening night, that includes draft picks, tenders and camp invitees.

“This is a big impression they are going to have on our entire staff: coaching staff, scouting staff, NHL advisory staff that will be at the Colisee this weekend.”

Robichaud said the organization will keep and eye out on the U18 kids and they also can earn an invite to training camp through their play this weekend.


Comments are not available on this story.