Maine Mariners players, including Cumberland native Ted Hart, center, catch their breath between drills last week. The Mariners cut Hart on Sunday. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Ted Hart of Cumberland was among seven players trimmed over the weekend from the training-camp roster of the Maine Mariners, who open their second ECHL season Friday night at Cross Insurance Arena.

Hart, a forward who played at Greely High and Yale University, made a positive impression on Coach Riley Armstrong.

“He showed some skill and some speed,” Armstrong said. “I do feel he can play in the league, but he might have to wait until January when guys are called up and some guys are hurt, to get in.”

Hart was attempting to become the first Maine native to play for the ECHL Mariners. Hart already has been in touch with two teams in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) – Birmingham and Peoria. He also is considering Europe; his older brothers both played in Dundee, Scotland.

“Riley and the other coaches were positive with me and they definitely want me to keep playing,” said Hart, who signed a nonguaranteed contract with the Mariners in August. “I guess that’s encouraging.”

Hart played in Maine’s 4-1 exhibition loss to ECHL rival Worcester on Saturday in Exeter, New Hampshire. The Mariners will meet Adirondack on Friday night.

Another gone from the roster is forward Dwyer Tschantz, who played in 50 games last winter, accumulating nine goals and seven assists.

“That was tough to do,” Armstrong said, “but he took it like a pro. He understood where he sat in the depth chart. He wants to play. Nobody wants to be the 14th forward. Everybody wants to be in the lineup every night.”

Armstrong said he’s reached out to other ECHL teams as well as those in the SPHL and in Europe in an attempt to find opportunities for those dropped from the training-camp roster. In Maine’s first season, Armstrong used 51 skaters and six goalies, so some of those leaving town may return in the near future.

“I never want a player to quit when this stuff happens,” Armstrong said. “There’s some teams that have already reached out for some guys’ phone numbers.”

Other cuts include defensemen Felix Cloutier, Pierre Ouellette, Dassas Rossiter and Richie Boyd, and goalie Daniel Spencer. The roster now stands at 25, and Armstrong expects a few more players from Hartford, the American Hockey League affiliate.

The team can open with 21 on the active roster. Two more players can be placed on reserve and an unlimited number on injured reserve, although players must remain on injured reserve for at least 14 days.

Veteran defenseman Zach Tolkinen, who was named captain after practice Monday for a second season, said bidding adieu to former teammates is difficult but speaks to the depth of this year’s squad.

“I just think we’re a better hockey team now than we were at any point last year,” he said. “We’ve got to figure some things out together, and learn and grow, but I’m excited to do that with this group.”

NOTES: The Mariners will hold an open practice Tuesday at Cross Insurance Arena, with team introductions preceding an on-ice session from 6 to 7 p.m. The event is free.

After practice, players will meet with season-ticket holders, and be available for autographs and photos.


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