Photo Credit: ECHL Maine Mariners

By Tom LaPlante | Follow me on Twitter @tlaplante7

August is usually referred to as the “dog days” of the year, as things slow down while the temperatures rise across New England. Apparently, the Maine Mariners did not get the memo as players have been putting pen to paper two at a time, most recently this past Tuesday as the team announced the re-signing of Jonathan Desbiens and Andrew Romano, two forwards out of NCAA college hockey.

Both names probably sound familiar to Mariners fans as they had committed to play for the team in 2020-2021, but due to the Mariners opting out of the season, both of these players will be making their pro debut when they hit the ice for the first time. This brings the total number of players on the roster for 2021-2022 to seven, with four forwards and three defensemen signed now.

Andrew Romano played for two SPHL teams last year, dressing in 11 games for the Huntsville Havoc, scoring three goals, and adding two assists. He then played 26 games for the Macon Mayhem, teaming up with Nate Kallen. In Macon, Romano scored four goals and had seven assists. His biggest success thus far, though, has been in college, where he played for NCAA D-III SUNY-Geneseo, out of Geneseo, NY. While there, Romano played in 112 games and scored 171 points. During his final two seasons, he led all D-III players scoring In 2018-2019, his junior year, Romano put up 10 goals and 42 assists for 52 points in 29 games to lead all D-III players. In 2019-2020 as a senior, he scored 14 goals with 42 assists totaling 56 points in 27 games. The Ice Knights won three straight conference championships from ’18-’20, and Andrew Romano is the second leading scorer in SUNY-Geneseo history.

Desbiens is from Montreal, Quebec but played his college hockey at Bentley University in Waltham, MA. He took the 2020-2021 season off but finished his four-year college career with 102 points in 139 games and was a third-team all-conference selection as a junior in ’18-’19. In his interview with the voice of the Mariners, Mike Keeley, Desbiens talks about how he has known new Mariners head coach Ben Guite for many years due to their ties to Montreal, and how the Canadiens making the Stanley Cup Final in 2021 was “the first time since I was born” which at first seems shocking, but then Desbiens does the math real quick and points out that it was 1993 when they last went to a Final, and he’s only 25. We all want nothing but the best for Jonathan here in Portland, but it’s always nice to see a Canadiens fan have to deal with their team’s recent lack of success.

I think it’s a commonly held opinion that minor-league sports always have the best promotions, and here’s another fun one that the Mariners have rolled out: the Half-Birthday Party. My two kids actually celebrate their birthdays outside of hockey season, so we might do this. It’s a little different and might be a whole lot of fun; who doesn’t want a half of a hockey pucked signed by their favorite Mariner? Yes, that’s actually a perk of the Half-Birthday Party. Check out the team’s website here, where you can sign up for the Half-Birthday Party, get ticket packages, merchandise, and more. Of course, follow me here on the blog and on Twitter for all things Mariners, and we will see you on opening night, October 22, at the Cross Insurance Arena.