Maine Hockey Journal

Fighting Spirit announce 2015-’16 schedule

LEWISTON – The L/A Fighting Spirit announced it’s 2015-16 season schedule on Tuesday in a press conference held at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Players will report to training camp on Monday, August 17 and the team will host a “Spirit Weekend” Friday, Aug. 28 through Sunday, Aug. 30. They will host an exhibition game Friday at 7 p.m. against an opponent yet to be determined. Owner and coach Rod Simmons said he’s looking to bring a Canadian team for that date. On Saturday, there will be 3-on-3 Street Hockey Tournament and a Coach’s Cook-off in the afternoon. From 4 p.m.-11 p.m., there will be a Battle of the Bands for local bands. A golf tournament will be held on Sunday at Turner Highlands at 9 a.m. to benefit the Spirit Player Benevolent Fund.

It’s an exciting time, it’s a bit of nerve wrecking too, to make sure you have the proper events for your community, but it’s exciting,” Simmons said of the schedule being released. “It’s always the point where you say ‘here we go.’ When you get the schedule, it’s ‘here we go.’ That’s the point (last season) is behind us, here we go.”

The 44-game NA3EHL regular season opens up Sunday, Sept. 13 as the Fighting Spirit travel to face the East Coast Minuteman for a 2 p.m. puck drop. The home opener won’t come until Saturday, Sept. 26 as they welcome the expansion Northeast Generals with the faceoff coming at 7 p.m. The following day the New England Stars come to town for a 2 p.m. tilt.

The season ends on March 6 with a home game against the Minutemen with the playoffs the following three weekends.

The first game against the Maine Wild is Saturday, Sept. 19 at Biddeford Ice Arena at 7 p.m. The two Maine teams meet a total of eight times during the regular season. They face other Eastern Division rivals Minuteman eight times, the Cape Cod Islanders eight times while facing the New England Stars and the Generals seven times.

“I had someone ask me a question recently about the Maine Wild being a rivalry,” Simmons said. “No, they aren’t a rivalry. I look at any team with a solid program as a great rivalry, you know what I mean? That could be anybody from the Maine Wild to Jersey (Shore) or one of these new teams that I don’t know anything about. A rivalry to me is about putting a good program on the ice to compete another good program.”

They go to two NA3EHL showcases to face the Western Division teams. The first showcase is the NA3EHL Eastern Showcase Columbus Day weekend where they will face the Jersey Wildcats for a Championship rematch on Friday, Oct. 9 at 7:10 p.m. On Saturday they face the Skyland Kings for another 7:10 p.m. start. They finish up the showcase for 12:40 p.m. puck drop against the Rochester Royals.

The second showcase, the NA3EHL Western Showcase will take place the final weekend of January. On Friday, Jan. 29, they face the Skyland Kings at 12:40 p.m. On Saturday, Jan. 30 they faceoff Wilkes-Barre Miners at 3:30 p.m. and the New York Aviators on Sunday at 11:45 a.m.

“I wanted to do more traveling, have teams like (the) Lockport (Express), Lockport isn’t even on our schedule this year,” Simmons said. “That’s my thing with the league, I am a team that wants to travel, and I like to get other teams in here, but I am only one voting member.”

There are numerous promotional days on the schedule. On Saturday, Oct. 17 the Fighting Spirit will host the Dempsey Challenge Night as the Minutemen come to town. On Friday, Oct. 30 they will have a Halloween Game against the Wild. It will be a Veterans and Military Appreciation Weekend Nov. 13 and 14 with Cape Cod and New England in town for 7 p.m. starts. The Teddy Bear Toss game will be the final game before the Christmas break on December 13 against the Generals. On Saturday, Jan. 16 the Wild are in town for Hockey Day in L/A where all the L/A Junior Fighting Spirit youth teams will play at the Colisee leading up to the game against the Wild. On Valentine’s Day, the game against the Minutemen is a Sweetheart game.

There will be a meet and greet with the coaches on Thursday with the coaching staff.

Season tickets are $105, and individual tickets are $7 for adults and $6 for youth, students, and seniors. There are flex packs available for $50 which includes ten tickets. There is a VIP parking pass for $84.

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