( Photo Credit: Paul Baker / StaduimJourney.com )

By: Mark Allred | Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

It’s been rumored for several weeks that the ECHL Maine Mariners were in heavy talks about a “AA” minor-pro affiliation with the National Hockey Leagues Boston Bruins per New England Hockey Journal writer Mark Divver. Well, the rumors are now true as a minor-pro affiliate of the Boston organization will return to the Portland, Maine area after a 29-year hiatus from the state’s Atlantic coast region.

Mariners team President Daniel Briere and Assistant General Manager Riley Armstrong, who also serves as the Mariners Head Coach, announced the news today that Portland will now be a pipeline of development for the Bruins organization. The last time the Portland, Maine area had an affiliation with the NHL Bruins was from the 1987-88 season to the 1991-92 campaign. After that, the Providence, Rhode Island area became home when the AHL club starting playing out of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in downtown Providence. Current Providence Bruins owner Larue Renfroe who’s owned the AHL Providence club since the summer of 2006, recently signed a ten-year affiliation agreement extension with the Boston Bruins organization in 2019, so having an ECHL club close by makes perfect sense.

With the Providence Bruins team remaining the main feeder system of the NHL Bruins organization for the next eight years, a long relationship could be had with an affiliate in the state of Maine. Generally, affiliations with NHL teams are pretty much maxed out at two seasons. Affiliations come and go, but I could see Portland being an affiliate for the foreseeable future.

Portland, Maine, is certainly an up-and-coming city with so many things to do around the Cross Insurance Arena in the heart of the coastline community. The new home of the Bruins affiliate “AA” minor-pro affiliate has a seating capacity of 6,206 for hockey events and was built in 1977 for the cost of $8 million.

If you’re a Boston Bruins fan that loves the prospects and willing to travel or live close to support the Maine Mariners, please check out the club’s ticket information for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign if you want a Season Ticket form or a Group Ticket Inquiry. The 2021-22 ECHL regular season is set to kick off in early October of 2021, so be ready for a whole new experience when it comes to minor league sustainability and support all levels of the organization.

If you’d like to take your Portland hockey fandom to a whole new level, please get in touch with us at blackngoldproductionsllc@gmail.com if you’d like to join our team as an ECHL Maine Mariners website writer or future Mariners related hockey podcast. We have several openings on our digital media team for growth with this recent affiliation news.