ORONO, Maine — On Nov. 18, 1977, the University of Maine played its first varsity hockey game at Alfond Arena. The Black Bears hosted Acadia University of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in a two-game exhibition series. Maine won both games 7-5.
Chris Kotsopoulos was a defenseman for Acadia in that 1977-78 season and he returned to Alfond Arena Saturday night as a color analyst for Quinnipiac University hockey broadcasts. Quinnipiac won 2-1 Saturday.
He remembers those first two games in 1977.
“The place was packed,” recalled Kotsopoulos. “The fans were riled up and ready to go. The crowd was noisy. We played our home games at this rink that was about 75 years old and nobody came to our games.
“They had a pretty good team. They were clearly better than us. We weren’t very good.”
“I think I got in a couple of fights and got thrown out,” quipped Kotsopoulos.
He played in 17 games that season for the Axemen and had seven assists and 72 penalty minutes.
He went on to play 479 games in the National Hockey League for the New York Rangers, Hartford Whalers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings and had 44 goals and 109 assists along with 879 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 31 Stanley Cup playoff games and had a goal, three assists and 91 penalty minutes.
He retired after the 1989-90 season.