Cora Schott of Lewiston wasted no time after plunking down 16 bucks for a blue T-shirt bearing the logo of the Maine Mariners, the minor league hockey team scheduled to begin play in downtown Portland next fall.

“I like that they paid attention to small details,” Schott, 28, said following an announcement to unveil the Mariners’ logo at Cross Insurance Arena on Wednesday. “I was really impressed they had a lot of Maine.”

The logo features a horizontal trident forming the vowel in the state abbreviation ME and, when examined closely, includes subtle nods to Maine’s coastline, forests and state seal. The predominant colors are blue and green.

“It takes in a lot more of Maine than what most people would think,” said Schott’s companion, Jon Caldwell, also 28 and from Lewiston. “It’s a new direction with an old feel.”

 

Cora Schott shows off a Maine Mariners T-shirt she bought on
Wednesday. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

The ECHL’s Mariners will fill a void left by the Portland Pirates, an American Hockey League team that played at the arena from 1993 to 2016 before moving to Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Pirates were preceded in Portland by the original Maine Mariners, a hockey team that began play at the arena in 1977. The orignal Mariners wore orange and black as an AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and, later, the Boston Bruins. Their logo featured a ship’s spoked wheel in the middle of a rounded black M.

George Nanos of Portland wore an orange Mariners jersey from the 1984 Calder Cup championship team to Wednesday’s unveiling. The event was attended by about four dozen fans, who watched from the west stands as the logo appeared on the scoreboard’s video screen.

“Fantastic,” said Nanos, 54. “I think their philosophy was to embrace the whole state. When the Pirates were here, I don’t think they reached out far enough.”

Not everyone embraced the new logo, particularly on social media. An informal Portland Press Herald poll on Twitter showed a little under half of respondents loved the new logo and about a quarter were neutral. The rest were split between loathing it and still wishing the team had been named either Puffins or Wild Blueberries, two of the five finalists in a name-the-team contest this summer.

Matt Taylor, 33, grew up in South Portland and now lives in Biddeford. He said a trident fails to represent the state’s maritime culture of boat-building, lobstering and fishing.

“I don’t really see many tridents in Maine,” he said. “Maybe it would be a little different if I was a little younger and didn’t have the memories of the old Mariners.”

Taylor said he was disappointed the new design failed to include something of the ship’s wheel from the old logo, but he does appreciate the hidden images of a lighthouse, pine tree and North star. Overall, he was lukewarm on the design.

“Could be better, could be worse,” he said. “I do like the color scheme.”

Justin Varberakis, creative director at Portland’s Big Room Studios, led a team that worked on the design for six weeks after the Mariners selected his company over half a dozen others who responded to the team’s request for proposals. He said he also loved the original Mariners M and plans to incorporate it into at least one of the team’s planned secondary logos.

“That will live on,” said Varberakis, 36, who grew up in Topsham, “because everybody loves that thing.”

The butt end of the trident is meant to resemble a hockey stick, with green bulges looking like wrapped athletic tape. A lighthouse appears in the shading of the second stanchion in the letter M. The pine tree appears in the middle prong of the trident, which also includes a stylized star similar to that above the Dirigo banner on Maine’s state seal.

There were no hats or sweatshirts available after Wednesday’s unveiling. Adam Goldberg, the Mariners vice president of business development, said apparel can be ordered from the team’s new website: MarinersOfMaine.com.

The site also includes information about season-ticket packages. He said the team would be rolling out half-season packages within a few weeks and “as we progress toward October, we’ll be introducing various other ticket packages for our fans.”

Goldberg also invited fans to the first of what he plans on a series of town hall-style meetings Dec. 12 at the arena.

“The earlier we can get your opinions and thoughts,” he said, “the more we can get ahead of things by the time the puck drops in October.”

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or

[email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH

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CORRECTION: This story was updated at 5:52 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2017, to correct the name of George Nanos.

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