Members of the ECHL’s Maine Mariners wait to be introduced before the team’s inaugural game at Cross Insurance Arena on Oct. 13, 2018. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The Maine Mariners will open their 2021-22 ECHL schedule on Oct. 22 against the Worcester Railers at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland, the team announced Monday.

The professional hockey team last played nearly a year ago – on March 10, 2020, at Cross arena – before the ECHL shut down operations two days later as the coronavirus pandemic swept through the country.

In November, the Mariners and the other five ECHL North Division teams opted out of the 2020-21 season because of travel restrictions and limits on spectators caused by pandemic.

“It is a special day to be able to put a home game on the calendar when the Mariners will hit the ice at the Cross Insurance Arena,” Adam Goldberg, the Mariners vice president of business operations, said in a news release. “Finally, a finish line for the wait, and a starting line for the season to come. To say that I am looking forward to seeing our fans, partners and event staff would be a massive understatement. Is it October yet?”

The Mainers debuted in October 2018 as an ECHL expansion team, but have only been able to complete one full season. Last year, the 10 final games of the regular season were wiped out because of the pandemic.

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