The Maine Celtics have plenty of entertainment to offer fans of all ages. Contributed / China Wong, NBAE, Getty Images

Chuck a puck over the boards, toss a basketball into a lobster pot, watch witches and wizards take the ice and collect autographs from professional athletes – you can do it all in one of two family-friendly places this winter, both in the heart of Portland.

The Maine Mariners and the Maine Celtics have something to offer all Mainers, whether they’re diehard sports fans or out to enjoy some high-spirited fun more than action unfolding on the playing surface.

Beacon, the Maine Mariners mascot, with fans during a game. File photo / Portland Press Herald

Adam Goldberg, president of the Maine Mariners, said he enjoys it when he and his team are able to come up with interesting ideas to engage the community.

“Last year we did our first wrestling night,” he said, and they’ll hold one again on Feb. 4. “We bring an actual wrestling ring out onto the ice post-game and we have matches. There’s a former WWE wrestler who’s local that is helping us put it on.”

Another popular event is the Mariners Carnival.

“We had face painters and balloon artists and various carnival performers on the concourse,” Goldberg said.


Other upcoming theme nights include Star Wars Night (Saturday, Jan. 20), Dinosaur Night (Feb. 2), Ninja Turtle Night (Feb. 16), Wands and Wizards (March 22) and Solar Eclipse Night (April 5).

A young star goes up for a dunk during a promotional event at a Maine Celtics game. Contributed / China Wong, NBAE, Getty Images

The Mariners’ chuck-a-puck, where fans throw foam pucks onto the ice and the closest to center ice wins some money, is always a hit, too, Goldberg said.

Similarly, the Maine Celtics have the lobster pot toss.

“We wheel out this gigantic lobster pot and fans get 60 seconds to throw the (mini) basketballs, try and get them in the pot and, if you get it in, you win a prize,” said Evans Boston, communications director for the Maine Celtics. “That’s always the most popular thing during a timeout at one of those games – you see hundreds of basketballs flying toward this lobster pot at center court.”

New this year for basketball fans is the multi-night event, Amazing Maine, in partnership with L.L.Bean.

“There will be five nights in total where (players will) wear these special L.L.Bean uniforms,” Boston said. “Each night they wear them we will be highlighting a different region of the state; Southern Maine, Downeast Maine, Western Maine, Northern Maine and Central Maine.”


Ben Lizotte yells for a puck while the Worcester Railers and Maine Mariners warm up before game a few years ago. File photo / Portland Press Herald

While two have already been celebrated, Western Maine will be the focus on Friday, Jan. 19, Northern Maine on Jan. 27 and Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, will be Central Maine.

Boston also highlighted the Celtics’ Black History Night scheduled for Feb. 2 and Pride Night on Feb. 10 when the team will will be wearing special uniforms.

Other upcoming promotions include Girl Scout Night (Jan. 27), STEM Night (March 14), Fan Appreciation Night (March 17) and Women in Sports Night (March 21).

But it’s not all fun and games, because top-notch athletes go head to head among it all.

The Maine Mariners are an affiliate of the Boston Bruins, and the Maine Celtics are an affiliate of the Boston Celtics, and both minor league teams have plenty of talent on their rosters.

For a full schedule, including promotional events and theme nights, visit the two teams’ respective websites. For the Celtics, go to For the Mariners, go to

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