It’s almost the end of September, with October looming. What does that mean? It’s almost time to pack the Alfond Arena for hockey season. Both the men and women will be starting their seasons in the next couple weeks with many new faces on the ice.

The University of Maine women’s hockey team starts their season very soon. They kick it off with an exhibition game against a team from Canada on Sept. 22 in Rockland, Maine. They have their first home tilt of regular season play Sept. 29 and 30 against Quinnipiac University.

Now, let’s take a look at the women’s roster. The team welcomes seven new players. Let’s start with the goaltender. Between the pipes stands Loryn Porter, from North Bay, Ontario. Porter played for the Mississauga Chiefs in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League (PWHL).

Next, the defensemen. Anna Zikova, from Cesky Tesin, Czech Republic, joins the Black Bears after competing for the AZ Havirov and the Czech Republic national team at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in 2016. The Black Bears also gained another defenseman in Maggie Blair. Prior to joining the program, Blair played for the Ontario Hockey Academy. The final defenseman is Taylor Leech from Bowdoinham, Maine. She competed for Hebron Academy before joining the Black Bears.

Moving onto the forwards, the program gained four new recruits: Daria Tereshkina from Chelayabinsk, Russia, represented the nation in the IIHF U18 World Championships. Maddie Giordano, a Loomis Chaffee graduate from Granby, Conn. Michelle Weis, a player for IC Gentofte from Charlottenlund, Denmark; and Josephine Engmann, coming from Oslo, Norway, who previously played for Manglerud Star.

Returning to the lineup are leading scorers Tereza Vanisova, a second-year from Strakonice, Czech Republic and Brooke Stacey, a fourth-year from Kahnawake, Quebec. Vanisova finished her freshman season with 16 goals in 28 games. Stacey finished her junior season with 15 goals in 30 games. Carly Jackson, a second-year goaltender from Amherst, Nova Scotia, returns in goal for the Black Bears. Jackson played in 27 games last year.

The women finished their regular season last year 10-21-1 and finished Hockey East play 6-17-1. The women will open their season against Quinnipiac, who swept the Black Bears in both games last year.

The UMaine men’s hockey team starts their season Oct. 1 when they host Acadia University. Five days later, they will host the University of Connecticut on Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6.

This year’s roster will consist of 10 new players: one goalie, four defensemen and five forwards. Let’s start with the netminder, Jeremy Swayman, from Anchorage, Alaska. Swayman previously played for Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League (USHL) and was drafted in the fourth round, 111th overall by the Boston Bruins in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

Looking at the defensemen, Alexis Binner, from Stocksund, Sweden joins the Maine roster. Binner previously played for the Green Bay Gamblers during the 2016-2017 season. Next is Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi, a native of Pietarsaari, Finland, who previously played for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL. Brady Keeper from Cross Lake, Manitoba, joins the Black Bears after playing for the OCN Blizzard of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Cameron Spicer, from Erie, Colo. joins the team from previously playing for the Islanders Hockey Club of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL).

Next up are Maine’s new forwards. Jack Quinlivan, from Shrewbury, Mass., joins the team after having played for the Boston Junior Bruins during the 2016-2017 season, scoring 18 goals. Another Massachusetts native joins the Black Bears in Kevin Hockey. From Braintree, Mass, Hockey previously played for the South Shore Kings in the USPHL, scoring 16 goals. A Cadca, Slovakia native, Adrian Holesinky joins this year’s roster after scoring 11 goals with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Another international student joins the team in Emil Westerlund, from Linkoping, Sweden. Westerlund previously competed for Linking HC J20, scoring 28 goals. He also played for the Swedish U19 national team. Last, but certainly not least, Eduards Tralmaks. From Riga, Latvia, he previously played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL, tallying 11 goals.

Having had their top scorer from last year, Blaine Byron, graduate, Maine will be looking to fourth-year Nolan Vesey, who notched 13 goals and 10 assists last season, to produce some offense once again. Maine will also be looking to second-year Chase Pearson, who tallied 14 goals and 8 assists, to contribute to the offense as well. The men finished 11-21-4 in last year’s competition.