The Maine Nordiques enter the 2022-23 season with a roster that consists of a variety of junior hockey experience.

Maine opens the season this weekend at The Colisee, with games against the Northeast Generals on Friday (7:05 p.m.) and Saturday (7 p.m.).

Most of the players from the Nordiques team two years ago that won the North American Hockey League East Division and made a Robertson Cup appearance, have moved on or are now playing college hockey — with one exception: forward Patrick Schmiedlin, who the team acquired for the 2021 playoff push.

Schmiedlin, now in his final year of junior hockey eligibility, is ready to be a leader in his third season with the club.

“I think, being an older guy this year, a lot of guys look up to me, and to some of the other older guys as well,” Schmiedlin said. “Seeing what the captains (in 2020-21) brought to the table every day, I took note of that. Anything I can do for the team this year, I am looking to do.”

Most of the 2022-23 roster is made up of newcomers or players who got a taste of junior hockey with the Nordiques last season when their previous teams’ season ended.


Ten newcomers played junior hockey full-time last season, while there are 12 players that either played high school, U18 or U16 hockey.

A couple of newcomers said the relationship they developed with coach Matt Pinchevsky during the offseason played a big role in their decision to join the organization.

“It started when my season ended (with the Burlington Cougars of the Ontario Junior Hockey League) last year,” defenseman Sterling Wolters said. “You want to get the ball rolling and figure out where you want to play as soon as possible. It’s always nice to get it figured out, and I talked to (Pinchevsky), it spiraled from there.”

Wolters was one of the Nordiques’ three first-round picks in the NAHL Entry Draft in June.

Tender signee Henrik Hallberg of Sweden said the opportunities and the facilities at The Colisee also drove his decision to play for the Nordiques after talking to Pinchevsky.

“He’s a big talker, so you just listen,” Hallberg said of Pinchevsky. “It’s been fun to get to know him.”


Pinchevsky said there roster was constructed with versatility in mind.

“We want a lot of variation in our lineup; if we are built the same way across the board, obviously there are good coaches in the league who can coach against that and try to stop it,” Pinchevsky said. “When you are built in a dynamic fashion and having certain (players) there, and important (players) to fit into an identity of a team, it’s really important in roster construction.”

One of the major changes this season is in goal. The Nordiques will have three brand-new goalies in Thomas Heaney, Kael DePape and Colin Androlewicz — the brother of former Maine Nordiques and current University of Maine goalie Connor Androlewicz.

Heaney (Omaha Lancers of the Tier I United States Hockey League and Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL) and DePape (Yorkton Terriers of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League) have extensive junior hockey experience.

DePape was a workhorse last season.

“Kael DePape, he was a starter last year as a (2003 birthyear) for 40-plus games and got a team playoff-bound,” Pinchevsky said. “So, he has a ton of experience, and he catches with (his right) hand, which is always interesting for shooters.”


Pinchevsky is excited for a couple of forwards who made the team as free agents, Noah Melanson and Kellen Murphy.

“They are both (2004-born) forwards and both left shot,” Pinchevsky said. “One has some experience in the league in Noah Melanson, several junior leagues actually, and Kellan has some (NAHL) experience as well. We are really excited for those guys.

The Nordiques have a handful of second-year players returning to Lewiston, including forward Brendan Gibbons, who tallied 20 goals and 14 assists in 37 games last year. He’s the second-leading returning scorer behind NAHL All-Rookie Team defenseman Nicholas Bernardo (six goals and 31 assists in 58 games).

Besides Gibbons and Bernardo, other players returning for their second year are forwards Jonny Meiers and Filip Wiberg and defenseman Brendan Kimball.

Gibbons said the vibe in the locker room is to go on a long playoff run after missing the postseason in 2021-22.

“We all have the same mindset, and that’s to win the Robertson Cup,” Gibbons said. “I think that’s so crucial, like no matter how old you are or how much experience you have, it’s all going to the same goal.”


There may be additions to the roster in the next couple of weeks. Last year’s second-leading scorer, Zion Green (15 goals and 32 assists in 55 games), is currently with the Cedar Rough Riders of the USHL. Evan Orloff, a defenseman on last year’s Nordiques team, is in camp with the Muskegon Lumberjacks, also of the USHL.

Pinchevsky said the organization is also looking at talent.

“It’s a competitive game. There’s a player in Latvia, there’s a player in Canada, there’s a player in Minnesota right now, there’s a player in a Florida right now, who these guys (on the Nordiques roster) may not understand they are competing against,” Pinchevesky said.


Gibbons became the first Nordiques player on the 2022-23 team to commit to an NCAA Division I school. Last month, he committed to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He will begin playing for the Falcons in 2023-24.

Gibbons said colleges started recruiting him in January, and he picked Air Force because he thrives under a structure.

“I benefit under structure, and they are a military academy, so they have a lot of structure,” Gibbons said. “I knew a place like that would help me.”

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