By: Tom LaPlante | Follow me on Twitter @tlapante7
The Maine Mariners, the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins, were busy again this week with roster moves, promotional giveaway announcements, and single-game ticket sales starting. Tuesday kicked off the week with the team announcing that they were bringing Conner Bleackley back to Portland for the 2021-2022 season. He played 15 games for the Mariners during the pandemic-shortened 2019-2020 season, putting up five goals and five assists for 10 points. Bleackley is the 14th player to be signed to the roster for the upcoming season, which starts in just under three weeks.
Bleackley, 25, is probably most famous for being a two-time NHL draft pick, one of those a first-round selection in 2014 when he was chosen 23rd overall by the Colorado Avalanche. Bleackley did not sign an entry-level contract, though, so he went back into the draft in 2016, where he was chosen in the fifth round by St. Louis with the 144th overall pick. Bleackley has bounced around a lot in his career since signing his entry-level contract with the Blues, playing for four different American Hockey League teams and five different ECHL teams.
Connor’s best season was 2017-2018 with Tulsa of the ECHL, where he scored 38 points (19 goals, 19 assists) in 40 games for the Oilers. He seems to like the idea of being able to stay in one place, though, as indicated by his re-signing with Maine in 2020 before the pandemic shut down the North Division for the season., and he basically says as much in the interview with Mike Keely below. As you can see in the highlight reel, he is immensely talented, and I can’t wait to see him for more than 15 games this year.
We are now under three weeks until opening night at the Cross Insurance Arena! With 14 players signed and the NHL preseason in full swing, we should see the roster fill out rapidly over the next week, as training camp kicks off on October 10th, followed by two preseason games on the 15th and 16th. Not to be lost in all the real hockey news, though, was the announcement of the promotional giveaway schedule. As anyone who has been to a minor league hockey game already knows, the teams love to give fans things with sponsors on it, and this season does not disappoint.
Check out the full schedule here, but there is a Beacon the Puffin bobblehead night, the always fantastic winter hat night, and a fanny pack night, to name just three. Don’t forget about the open house on October 5th, where fans can hang out with Beacon, check out the view from the seats, pick up or order season tickets and paint the blue line. Go to the Mariners website and get your merchandise, ticket packages, and now single-game tickets. Twenty days until the puck drops on season three of Mariners hockey, make sure you get your tickets before they’re gone!