The Maine Nordiques have had at least one Mainer on the roster in each of their first four seasons in the North American Hockey League.

Maine Nordiques forward Oliver Genest skates during Friday’s game against the Northeast Generals at The Colisee in Lewiston. Ron Morin/Maine Nordiques

In the inaugural season, 2019-20, former Lewiston High School standouts Cole Ouellette and Alex Rivet made the team. Another Lewiston player, Sam Frechette, spend a handful of games with Maine in 2019-20 and 2020-21, and former St. Dominic Academy and North Yarmouth Academy standout Reese Farrell of Auburn spent the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons with the club.

Oliver Genest of Sanford briefly played for the Nordiques last season as a tender signee, along with Farrell, but is now is the Nordiques’ only Mainer in his first full season with the club.

Joining the Nordiques meant he was playing based in his home state, and that, surprisingly, is an unfamiliar situation for Genest.

“I never played for a competitive team here in Maine,” Genest said. “The Nordiques are the first team I skated with in Maine, actually. I have always been (playing) in New Hampshire.”

The 18-year-old forward played with the Dover Youth Hockey Association until he was 11 years old, then moved on to the Seacoast Performance Academy in Exeter. After his season with the academy’s 17U team ended in February, he joined the Nordiques for the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign.


“I have had (a half-hour to) an hour drive at a young age, and it’s a credit to my parents for getting me down there to New Hampshire,” Genest said.

Transitioning from Seacoast Performance Academy to the NAHL has gone smoothly for Genest. Through 15 games this season, he is the Nordiques’ leading scorer with four goals and 13 assists. That production has garnered interest from NCAA Division I colleges.

“I am definitely getting some interest, but I am trying to find the right fit for me academically and the right location, the right fit for me for life after hockey,” Genest said.

Sanford native Oliver Genest is the Maine Nordiques’ leading scorer in his first full season with the team. Ron Morin/Maine Nordiques

This past week, he was the NAHL’s East Division first star of the week after recording six points (two goals and four assists) in Maine’s two wins over the Philadelphia Rebels on Nov. 4 and 5.

Maine Nordiques coach Matt Pinchevsky said the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Genest is versatile and always working to improve his skills.

“He’s always trying to get better and (implement) what’s being learned or taught. It’s really coming together for him,” Pinchevsky said. “His teammates trust him; he makes them better.


“He’s a triple-threat player: he can beat you with his size, he can beat you with his skill, he makes the players around him better.”

Maine Nordiques forward Oliver Genest handles the puck in Friday’s game against the Northeast Generals at The Colisee in Lewiston. Ron Morin/Maine Nordiques

Genest’s play is impressing his linemates.

“It’s been awesome; we have a lot of chemistry,” forward Patrick Schmiedlin said. “He’s a guy I didn’t think I would be playing with this year, but it has been awesome, I love playing with him. It seems like we find each other on the ice a lot. He’s been the cause of a lot of my opportunities and some of my offense. I think I am helping him out, as well.”

Schmiedlin is the second-leading scorer on the team, with six goals and nine assists in 15 games. The third-leading scorer is the third member of the line, Tony Achille, who has four goals and nine helpers in 15 games.

Genest said that playing with Schmiedlin and Achille — who are both in their final years of junior hockey eligibility — has helped with his hot start.

“It’s huge. It’s everything. (They) lead by example out there,” Genest said. “Both those guys are great players, even better people. It’s great to have them (as linemates).”


The line started clicking during a two-game home series against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks on Oct. 21-22.

“The first game, I was playing the left wing, and Tony was playing on his off-wing on the right wing, Oliver was (at center),” Schmiedlin said. “We made a little switch (in the second game); I started playing (center), Tony on his strong hand (he’s a lefty), and Oliver on his strong hand (he’s a righty) as well. Ever since then, we have been playing really well.”

Despite being a Sanford native, Oliver Genest had never played for a team based in Maine until he joined the Maine Nordiques last season. Ron Morin/Maine Nordiques

The line scored the lone goal in a 2-1 loss on Oct. 21 to the Hat Tricks. Moving Achille to the left wing, Schmiedlin to center, and Genest to the right-wing paid instant dividends as the trio each had a goal and totaled five assists between them in a 6-2 win.

Genest said he considers himself a pass-first player. Having speedy linemates allows him to dish the puck and help set up goals for the team.

“They support the puck very well, they are both very fast, so it makes my job a little bit easier,” Genest said. “We just find each other; they hunt for pucks, we get (the puck) to each other and we make plays.”

Achille is playing his first season with the Nordiques after spending the previous two years with the Boston Advantage of the USPHL’s National Collegiate Development Conference. He said he understands that it isn’t easy for a young player like Genest to be an offensive force in his first season of junior hockey.

“He has worked for everything he’s gotten, but the NAHL is such a high level,” Achille said. “For him to come here as a first-year (player), he has (only missed one game); he works his butt off day in and day out; I see him in the gym, I see him working extra hard. I think he’s deserving everything he’s getting.”

Genest said the four games he played with the Nordiques last season (goal and two assists) helped prepare him for a full year of junior hockey. He said he spent a lot of time in the gym to be physically ready to play at the Tier II level. And now he’s trying to make the most of his playing time.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect (this season), I had some success last year when I (was called up),” Genest said. “I have been getting opportunities to play my game and that’s what I have been doing.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.