QMJHL Lewiston Maineiacs players saddened by news of team folding

While the fans of the now-departed Maineiacs are experiencing the shock that their junior team is officially gone, the players themselves are also going through a lot.

“I don’t know how to feel,” said defenseman Samuel Finn. “I’m very disappointed and surprised.”

Finn found out about the folding from a teammate’s text and though he said the rumors had coursed through the dressing room all year long, there was still a lack of real information provided to the players.

“The organization didn’t tell us anything,” he said. “We didn’t talk about it, we just tried to focus on our game.”

Finn, who turned 20 this season and has played four years in the Quebec League for Cape Breton and then Lewiston, is still eligible for an overage campaign next year. The situation was supposed to be win-win, given the Maineiacs’ developing lineup.

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“If I had a tryout, I was going to do my best to go pro,” he said. “But if not, I was planning on going for the (Memorial) Cup, because (next) year was our year.”

Lewiston’s returning core would have included Columbus prospect Michael Chaput, Isles pick Kirill Kabanov and defenseman Dillon Fournier, the top selection in the 2010 QMJHL draft. Instead, the whole team will be dispersed to other franchises.

Along with saying goodbye to teammates, the Lewiston players will have to figure out how the move will affect their educations; the Maineiacs were the only American team in the league and credits will have to be transferred into different Canadian school systems, depending on whether the teens are sent to teams in Quebec or the different Maritime provinces.