The Maine Moose have a new league and a high-powered offense to offer for fans looking to get a jump on hockey season at Bank of Maine Ice Vault.

The Moose have a total of eight teams for the upcoming season, including three midget teams — Under -18, U16 full-season and U-16 split season. The U16 full-season team is already three games into a 50-55 game schedule and boasts a 3-0 record.

During the off-season, the Moose joined the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League to ratchet up the level of competition and visibility for the players trying to attract prep, junior and college interest. The league features multiple players with Division I commitments or drawing the interest of other DI programs and highly-regarded prep schools,according to Moose owner, general manager and U16 coach Benjamin Gray.

“It’s comprised of 68 member organizations across 15 states,” Gray said. “It’s a wide variety of competition, and it gives our kids the exposure that they’re looking for.”

Gray described the EJEPL as a supplemental league for the Moose U16, U14, and U12 teams. They will also continue to participate in the Maine Amateur Hockey Association (MEAHA).

Gray said the Moose continue to attract some of the top hockey talent in the state. The U16 team is stocked with players who have been in the program for four or more years and led the Moose to a state title last year. Many have made back-to-back appearances at the Tier II U14 and U16 National Championships. The roster includes Cony High School’s Cam Wilson, Kent’s Hill’s Esa Maki, Cody Doyon of Sabattus and Waterville’s Matt Jolicoeur.

The Moose won their first three games — 3-0 against U18 non-league opponent Casco Bay, then 8-1 and 9-2 drubbings of their first EJEPL foe, New Jersey Alliance, on Sunday. Gray is optimistic his team has the firepower to continue to make noise in the EJEPL.

“It would be nice to do well and be one of the top teams in the new league, but we will have our work cut out for us,” Gray said.

The Moose continue EJEPL play this weekend with one game Saturday and two on Sunday against the New Jersey Ironmen. They follow that with a showcase in Brewster, N.Y. the last weekend of August.

The U18 split-season team, which begins its 30-game slate with two road league games on Aug. 30, returns Messalonskee’s Jared Cunningham and Jared Nale, Cony’s Tommy Small and Cody Stockford of Kents Hill, They’ll make their season home debut on Sep. 5.

The Moose also run five youth teams that skate under the Skating Association of Maine umbrella in the Bantam, Pewee and Squirt divisions. The two-time defending state champion and 2014-15 New England-champion U12 team travels to Delaware for an EJEPL showcase tournament on Aug. 28, as does the U14 squad. The Moose Squirt Tier II, Pewee Tier III and Bantam Tier III teams start in mid-October.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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