( Photo Credit: ECHL Maine Mariners )

By: Tim Dumas | Follow me on Twitter @TimDumas

The Boston Bruins will continue their affiliation with the Maine Mariners for at least another two years. The Bruins on Monday announced a two-year extension with their ECHL affiliate that will keep the teams paired through the 2024-25 season. The Mariners have been partnered with the Bruins since the ’20-21 season, but the relationship goes back to the late 1980s. 

The Bruins have had an ECHL affiliate since 1991, with other locations including Johnstown, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; Greenville, South Carolina; Reading, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; and Atlanta. The Mariners are the Bruins’ only ECHL affiliate to ever play in New England. 

“The Mariners are ecstatic to extend our affiliation with the Boston Bruins,” said Mariners Vice President of Business Operations Adam Goldberg. “Beyond the obvious geographical connection between Maine and Boston, both of our organizations take great pride in professionalism and performance.” 

The Mariners will remain affiliated with the Providence Bruins at the AHL level. 

“We are thrilled to extend our affiliation agreement with the Maine Mariners,” said Providence Bruins General Manager Evan Gold. “The collaboration between Boston, Providence, and Maine has been instrumental in helping our prospects improve not only their hockey skillsets on the ice but also their work ethic and approach to becoming professionals off the ice.” 

The Mariners set a franchise record for wins on Sunday with their 38th victory after a 5-2 decision over the Tulsa Oilers, clinching a spot in the Kelly Cup playoffs for the second consecutive season. Tim Doherty, who played three seasons at the University of Maine, scored three goals for the Mariners. 

With just six regular-season games remaining, the Mariners play next on Wednesday (7:05 p.m.) at the Worcester Railers. Their next home game is Easter Sunday (3 p.m.) against Adirondack. 

The Bruins and Mariners were affiliated from 1987-92, although the Mariners began as an AHL team in 1977 as an affiliate for the Philadelphia Flyers, winning the Calder Cup in each of their first two seasons of existence. Future Bruins goalie Pete Peeters played for the Mariners in both seasons, and another future Bruin, Ken Linseman, played for them in 1978-79. 

Philadelphia sold the affiliation to the New Jersey Devils before the ’83-84 season, the year the Mariners again won the Calder Cup. The Mariners became a Bruins affiliate in 1987 and had another successful first season. With future Bruins coach Mike Millbury behind the bench, Maine won 44 games and won the division title. Future Bruins Bill Ranford, Doug Keans, John Carter, and Dave Reid played on that team. 

Before the Mariners became partnered with the Washington Capitals for the ’93-94 season, Don Sweeney, Bob Beers, Andy Brickley, Bob Sweeney, and Barry Pederson played for them.  

Maine’s current record of 38-25-3 puts them in line with a successful Bruins organization. With Providence’s 40-18-8 mark and Boston’s 60-12-5 record in the NHL, the teams are a combined 138-55-16. With five games remaining, Providence is one point behind the Hershey Bears for the top spot in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.