Friday, November 15, 2013

Maine Nordiques

maine nordiques lewiston nahl franchise
The Maine Nordiques existed for the entire duration of the North American Hockey League, 1973-74 to 1976-77. The team was affiliated with the Quebec Nordiques of the World Hockey Association. Home games were played at the Central Maine Youth Center, now the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, in Lewiston, Maine. The venue seats 3,677 for hockey and was opened in 1958.


The best regular season performance by the Maine Nordiques was countered by a terrible post season. Maine placed second out of seven teams in the NAHL, 19 points behind the first place Syracuse Blazers and 20 points ahead of the Long Island Cougars. However, in the Lockhart Cup playoffs, the Nordiques won just one of eight games in the opening round, round robin style format.

During the regular season, four players totalled 100 or more points: Rejean Giroux, Paul Larose, Michel Rouleau and Michel Archambault. All four were in the top six for points in the league. Giroux placed second in the NAHL with 64 goals while Larose was third with 53. The two were also 2-3 in the points department with Giroux finishing with 122 and Larose ending up with 119. Michel Rouleau finished sixth in the league for penalty minutes with 173.

Future NHL goalie Richard Brodeur played his only 15 games in the NAHL during the regular season. Brodeur was back with the Quebec Nordiques by playoff time. Michel Harvey took on the dual role of player / head coach.


The Nordiques started 1974-75 with ten consecutive losses and Michel Harvey was relieved of his coaching duties. Jean-Charles Gravel took over as head coach and the team improved somewhat but did not qualify for the post season. Maine finished eighth in the eight team league with just 55 points over 74 games.

Paul Larose led the team with 54 goals and 49 assists for 103 points. He placed second in the league for goals and third for points. The team used six different goaltenders but their number one was Bernie Wolfe. Wolfe would later play four years in the National Hockey League with the Washington Capitals.


Bob Leduc took over the role of player / head coach and the Nordiques were downright dreadful. Leduc had spent the past three years in the WHA in the Ottawa Nationals / Toronto Toros organization. Maine finished the year with just 18 wins and a tie, along with 55 losses. The Cape Codders played just 52 games before folding and still finished 14 points ahead of the Nordiques. Maine was fifth in the five team East Division and last overall in the ten team league.

Because the Codders folded, Maine actually made it into the playoffs. The Beauce Jaros took out the Nordiques in the opening round but Maine did manage to win one game.

Once again, Paul Larose was the team leader offensively, putting up great numbers on a terrible team. Larose scored 41 and assisted on 73 for 114 points over 71 games. He placed tenth in the NAHL for goals, fifth for assists and eighth for points.


The Nordiques turned it around for their final year in the doomed league with Jean-Charles Gravel returning as head coach. Maine finished second in the eight team league and won their first ever playoff series in the league by sweeping the Johnstown Jets in the opening round. In round 2, the Nordiques took out the Binghamton Dusters in five games. In the Lockhart Cup finals, Maine was swept by the Syracuse Blazers.

Paul Larose Gary Coulter led the team with 31 goals each. John Cunniff was the team leader with 65 assists and 94 points. Jim Corsi was the number one goalie for the Nordiques. Corsi played 26 games in the NHL for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1979-80 season. John has been goaltending coach for the Buffalo Sabres since 2001-02.



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