The Maine Nordiques and the Northeast Generals will see plenty of each other in the 2020-21 season.

The North American Hockey League released its schedules last week, and the two rivals are slated to face each other 16 times, including opening weekend, Oct. 9-10, when the Nordiques host the Generals at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Due to the Jamestown Rebels sitting the season out because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NAHL’s East Division is just six teams. The other four opponents the Nordiques will face this season are the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks (12 games), Johnstown Tomahawks (eight games), Maryland Black Bears (eight games), New Jersey Titans (10 games).

Nordiques coach Nolan Howe is glad to have the schedule formalized.

“It was quite a challenge logistically, I our division and our entire league worked hard at it,” Howe said. “It’s one of those things where it was kind of changing daily there for several weeks, but everybody banded together and put something together that we all agreed upon.”

After the opening weekend series, the Nordiques will travel to Johnstown for games Oct. 16-17, and then come back to Lewiston for an eight-game home stand from Oct. 23-Nov. 7 against the Titans, Hat Tricks and Black Bears.

Ideally, Howe would rather be on the road early in the season, but this year it may not be an issue.

“I am a coach who prefers to go on the road early in the year to build team chemistry, but with a bit of an extended training camp here and some activities we have been doing as a group, it has worked out really well for us,” Howe said. “We have a great group coming together, so I am not overly concerned. We are just excited to play — we will play anybody, anywhere.”

This season’s Friday and Saturday home games will start at 7 p.m, as will most weeknight contests. The Nordiques’ home tilt against Danbury on Tuesday, Nov. 24, will start at noon. The two teams meet again the next night at 7 p.m.

Sunday home games begin at 1 p.m. There’s only one Sunday home game that the Nordiques will play at the same time as the New England Patriots: Jan. 3, when the Nordiques take on the Generals. The Patriots have their own rivalry game that day against the New York Jets in the final game of the regular season.

Due to state gathering limits of 50 people in indoor facilities, right now fans won’t be allowed to attend home games.

“It’s something we are working on,” Howe said. “(Nordiques and Colisee owner) Dr. Darryl Antonacci, and the staff, is hard at work. We have to do everything in our power to adhere to, follow strictly the guidelines presented to us by the CDC, by the state of Maine. It’s certainly guidelines we intend on following and have been following.”

Currently, there are five dates the Nordiques and the Twin City Thunder’s National Collegiate Development Conference team play at home on the same day: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 7, Nov. 25 and Jan. 15

The Nordiques’ longest road trips are two five-game stretches. From March 19-27, they face the Titans three times and the Hat Tricks twice. At the end of the season, from April 16-24, they travel to Danbury for three games and finish the year in Johnstown.

There is a currently a designated opening from Jan. 30-Feb. 26 that will be used of games need to be rescheduled. The league has not announced the dates for NAHL Showcase, which is originally held at the beginning of the season in Blaine, Minnesota. The NAHL said during the summer ithat the showcase would be held in December, but has backed off of that. The details of the Top Prospects Tournament in Attleboro, Massachusetts, usually held in the middle of February, has yet to be announced. Howe believes the month-long break is potentially when those two events will take place.

The Tomahawks, who have Lewiston native Alex Rivet in camp right now, travel to Lewiston for the first time Dec. 3-4.

NORDIQUES HAPPY WITH ROSTER

With Jamestown opting out of the season, the league held another dispersal draft, but Howe is satisfied with the roster so the the Nordiques passed on making a selection.

“As an organization, we like where we at as a group,” Howe said. “We still have players returning, whether it would be from injury, the USHL or across the pond, that we anticipate to get back in the lineup at some point. But there will be some roster cutdowns as we get closer here (to the opener). Like I said, it’s one of those situations where the team is coming together so well as a group, we are really happy with our personnel, so we passed (on the pick).”

MAINEIAC NOW A COACH

Alex Bourret, who played for the Lewiston Maineiacs, has been named the head coach of the Granby Inouk of the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League, one of the 10 Canadian Junior A Hockey Leagues under the Hockey Canada umbrella.

Bourret spent the past four years coaching Marie-Rivier Canimex Espoir, a midget hockey team in Quebec.

The 33-year-old Drummondville, Quebec, native spent two seasons with the Maineiacs (2003-05) and was a first-round selection of the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2005 NHL Draft. That was second of four straight years that Maineiacs players were picked in the first round of the NHL draft. In 2004, Alexandre Picard went to the Columbus Blue Jackets; in 2006 the Los Angeles Kings drafted Jonathan Bernier; and in 2007, the St. Louis Blues selected David Perron.

Bourret was traded to the Shawinigan Cataractes after the 2004-05 season at the 2005 QMJHL Draft, and he played one more season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before turning pro for the 2006-07 season. He never played in the NHL but had 13-year professional career in North America, Europe and Asia.


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.