Maine, known as the Pine Tree State, has a rich history in the sport of hockey. From youth leagues to professional teams, hockey has been a beloved pastime in this Northeastern state for generations. And with such a deep-rooted love for the game, it’s no surprise that Maine has produced some of the most intense and storied rivalries in North American hockey.
In this article, we’ll take a journey through time and revisit some of the most significant matchups in Maine’s hockey history. From college teams to minor leagues, we’ll explore the passionate rivalries that have shaped the state’s hockey landscape and continue to captivate audiences today.
University of Maine vs. University of New Hampshire
The rivalry between the University of Maine Black Bears and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats is one of the longest and most intense in college hockey. The two schools, located just three hours apart, have been competing against each other since 1977.
The rivalry gained momentum in the early 1980s when both teams joined the Hockey East conference. The fierce competition between the Black Bears and the Wildcats has resulted in some unforgettable games and unforgettable moments.
In 1999, the two teams met in the NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship game, with the Black Bears claiming their first national title with a 3-2 victory. This win cemented the rivalry even further and ignited a fire between the two schools that burns strong to this day.
Maine Mariners vs. New Hampshire Monarchs
While the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire dominate the college hockey scene, the Maine Mariners and the New Hampshire Monarchs have been bitter rivals in the minor leagues.
The Mariners, based in Portland, Maine, and the Monarchs, based in Manchester, New Hampshire, have been competing against each other in the American Hockey League (AHL) since the 1990s. The two teams have faced each other in multiple playoff series, with each team vying for the coveted Calder Cup.
Their rivalry is so intense that it has even spilled over into off-ice events. During a regular-season game in 2018, a brawl broke out between the two teams, resulting in multiple player ejections and penalties. The heated encounter only added fuel to the fire of this already fierce rivalry.
Maine Nordiques vs. New Hampshire Saints
Another minor league rivalry that has captured the hearts of Maine and New Hampshire hockey fans is the one between the Maine Nordiques and the New Hampshire Saints. These two teams met in the North American Hockey League (HL) in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The Nordiques, based in Lewiston, Maine, and the Saints, based in Concord, New Hampshire, were both powerhouse teams in the HL. They faced each other in multiple playoff series, each time with the goal of advancing to the coveted Robertson Cup.
One of the most memorable matchups between the two teams was in 1980 when the Nordiques defeated the Saints in the Robertson Cup finals, solidifying their dominance and sparking an even more intense rivalry.
Maine Mariners vs. Quebec Nordiques
The rivalry between the Maine Mariners and the Quebec Nordiques of the National Hockey League (NHL) may not have been geographically close, but it was certainly intense. The Mariners, with a strong fan base in Maine, often faced off against their Canadian rivals in exhibition and regular-season games.
One of the most highly anticipated games between the two teams was in 1985, when the Mariners hosted a pre-season game against the Nordiques in Lewiston, Maine. The sold-out crowd of over 4,000 fans was treated to an intense game that ended in a 3-3 tie. The game showcased the excitement and passion that the Maine Mariners brought to the game and solidified their rivalry with the Nordiques.
Maine Mariners vs. New England Whalers
In the 1970s, the Maine Mariners faced off against the New England Whalers, former members of the World Hockey Association (WHA) and later, the NHL. The rivalry between these two teams was characterized by competitive and hard-hitting games, often resulting in physical altercations on the ice.
In one memorable game in 1979, the Mariners and the Whalers fought through three overtime periods, with the Mariners eventually coming out on top with a 6-5 victory. This game further cemented the fierce rivalry between these two teams and solidified the Mariners’ place in Maine’s hockey history.
Maine’s hockey history is filled with intense and storied rivalries that have captivated audiences for decades. From college teams to minor leagues, the state has produced some of the fiercest competitions in North American hockey.
The rivalries between the University of Maine and the University of New Hampshire, the Maine Mariners and the New Hampshire Monarchs, the Maine Nordiques and the New Hampshire Saints, the Maine Mariners and the Quebec Nordiques, and the Maine Mariners and the New England Whalers are just a few examples of the passion and dedication that Maine’s teams bring to the game.
These matchups have not only shaped the state’s hockey landscape but have also brought communities together and ignited a fierce love for the sport that continues to thrive in Maine today.