If you are an avid sports fan who lives in Maine, you know that the state has numerous types of spectator sports in both pro and semi-pro teams. If you are a sports enthusiast who does NOT live in the Pine Tree state, then consider all you’re missing! Maine has spectator sports varying from baseball and basketball, to harness racing and stock car racing, as well as a wide range of winter sports. So grab your scheduler and make plans to attend the sports events of your choice!
Maine Spectator Sports
The Pine Tree state offers a wide variety of spectator sports, comprised of both pro and semi-pro teams, throughout the year. Sports schedules typically parallel national teams for the time of year you can expect to enjoy common sporting events. Then, as one of the New England states, Maine naturally has an assortment of winter sports. Some, such as ice hockey, skiing, snowboarding, and sled dog racing may be familiar to you. But have you ever heard of pond hockey and SNODEO? How about toboggan racing? Check out Maine’s spectator sports, from common – to uncommon!
Maine’s only pro baseball team is the Portland Sea Dogs, affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, and officially a member of Minor League Baseball. The team plays from April through September, with home games on Hadlock Field in Portland, which even boasts a 37-foot tall replica of the infamous “Green Monster” wall at Fenway Park in Boston. For more information, call 1-800-936-DOGS or (207) 874-9300.
The state’s premier basketball team is the Maine Red Claws, affiliated with the Boston Celtics, the Charlotte Bobcats, and the Philadelphia 76ers. This member of the NBA Development League plays their home games at the Portland Expo Building in Portland and features former college basketball stars. The season typically runs from November through the following April. For more information, call (207) 210-6655.
While Maine has no professional football teams, the state’s collegiate Black Bears team from the University of Maine system in Orono (see more info below) has produced several players who have gone on to join the NFL.
Maine offers two historical harness and thoroughbred race tracks: Bangor Raceway and Scarborough Downs.
Bangor Raceway, located in Bass Park in Bangor, also goes by the nickname of a “racino,” as the facility offers a casino with Hollywood Slot machines. In existence since the late 1800s, the raceway has sponsored harness racing for over 100 years, operating from May through November. You may attend live events, as well as enjoy simulcasts if you can’t make a race. For more information, call 1-877-779-7771, or (207) 561-6068 or 6070.
Scarborough Downs boasts itself as the “showplace” of Maine’s harness racing sports events since 1950, as well as being New England’s fastest 1/2-mile track. The race track covers 500 acres in Scarborough, and offers over 100 races, from the end of March through December, weather-permitting. Like the Bangor track, Scarborough Downs offers simulcasts if you can’t attend a race in person. For more information, call (207) 883-4331.
The Pine Tree state’s renowned ice hockey team is the Portland Pirates, an American Hockey League member, and an affiliate of the National Hockey League team, the Phoenix Coyotes. The team plays home games at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, and their season runs from October through the following April. For more information, call (207) 828-4665.
Stock Car Racing
The Pine Tree state’s long history of weekend stock car racing has featured many NASCAR-related events, including the American-Canadian Tour, the Pro All-Star Series, and the Whelen All-American Series. Maine has both asphalt and dirt tracks in towns ranging from Scarborough in the southwestern corner of the state, to its northernmost tip in Caribou.
Three of Maine’s most notable tracks are the following: (1) the NASCAR-sanctioned 1/3-mile oval asphalt track, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway in Scarborough; (2) the 3/8-mile asphalt short track, Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford, which regularly hosts NASCAR-related promotional events; and (3) the largest, fastest, and highest banked of the state’s tracks, the Wiscasset Raceway in Wiscasset. Maine also has two drag racing strips, located in Oxford and Winterport.
For more information, contact the track you wish to visit.
Winter in Maine usually resembles the proverbial “Winter Wonderland” and features many winter sports that take advantage of the state’s propensity for snow and ice. Events include activities involving skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow tubing, ice skating and hockey, dog sled racing, and the less familiar activity known as “snodeo.”
Skiing and Snowboarding
The Pine Tree state hosts numerous skiing and snowboarding events at its many renowned ski resorts throughout the winter. If “Mother Nature” doesn’t cooperate and produce enough snow cover, manmade snow will do the honors! Many of these events on Maine’s mountains typically draw professional athletes from among the U.S. National Team members, as well as Olympians and X-Games athletes.
Most of the events fall under one of three categories: alpine, nordic, or peak to peak.
Alpine events focus on downhill skiing, intended for people who enjoy the speed of traversing and turning down sometimes steep terrain. These events are numerous and range from fun, family-style activities, to sponsored events for amateur and professional skiers. One such event is the Dumont Cup, which began in 2009 and has achieved a rare “Platinum” status as the largest freeskiing event of its kind for amateur and professional skiiers, representing the highest level of competition in the entire country. For more information on the Dumont Cup event, call (207) 824-3000.
Nordic events involve primarily cross-country skiing, intended for people who enjoy traversing or “touring” trails at a slower pace than downhill skiing. Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, one of Maine’s most well-known ski resorts, features both alpine skiing AND the Pine Tree state’s largest nordic center for cross-country skiing and showshoeing. Sugarloaf also sponsors annual events such as the state’s only downhill nordic race, a cross-country skiing marathon, and a paintball biathalon. For more information about events at Sugarloaf, call (207) 237-2000.
Peak to peak events simply encourage visitors to ski or snowboard at as many different slopes as possible throughout the winter season, in order to earn prizes or passes for the next year.
For more information about ski and snowboard events throughout the state, contact the Ski Maine Association at (207) 773-SNOW (7669).
Biathlon Event at the Maine Winter Sports Center
The Maine Winter Sports Center in Caribou, Maine’s northernmost city near the Canadian border, hosts a unique winter event called the Biathlon. This Winter Olympic event combines nordic cross-country skiing with rifle marksmanship. For more information, call (207) 492-1444.
Sled Dog Racing
Winter in northern and western Maine also is the season for the return of renowned sled dog teams from all over the United States. The Jackman Sled Dog Club in the northern mountains of Jackman has sponsored the annual Northeast Championship Sled Dog Races for many years, twice a year, on its well-groomed trails and rolling hills. For more information, call 1-888-633-5225 or (207) 668-4171.
New Englanders love ice hockey, and the sport of pond hockey – playing the game on Maine’s frozen lakes and ponds – provides just one more opportunity. Rangeley hosts an annual Pond Hockey Festival with at least four divisions of teams, as a fundraiser for local charities. Their slogan is “It’s a great day for hockey!” For more information, email Info@newenglandpondhockey.com.
Yes, another different but classic event during Maine winters is the U.S. Toboggan Championships. This event, which began in 1990, is held at the Camden Snow Bowl ski and recreation area. Teams of 2-4 people race down toboggan chutes, going for the best time out of two attempts, using traditional or experimental toboggans that meet specified requirements. For more information, call (207) 236-3438.
For something really different, how about a SNODEO? Rangeley is again the hosting town for this unique event, which is essentially a snowmobile rodeo – hence, a SNODEO! The Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club sponsors this fun annual family event, which is a combination of activities featuring snowmobile rides and a parade, demos, entertainment, and food – including a pig roast . For more information, call (207) 864-7336.
Maine’s Most Notable College Teams
In addition to the state’s pro and semi-pro teams, Maine also has some notable college sports teams.
For instance, the Sanford Mainers offer the thrill of summer baseball games at Goodall Park in Sanford. This team is a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Their team members include top college players from across all National Collegiate Athletic Association (N.C.A.A.) divisions. For more information, call (207) 324-0010.
The University of Maine system in Orono also boasts some well-known college sports teams, especially in baseball, football, and ice hockey, all going by the team name of the Maine Black Bears. The teams have won various honors, such as national collegiate championships, and members have been noted for maintaining their high GPAs of 3.0 or better, even while actively participating in various sports. For more information, call (207) 581-1052.
What is YOUR Favorite Sport?
Whatever your favorite sport is, you are likely to find it represented among Maine’s spectator sports. Gather details about specific sports and scheduled games and events, and mark your calendar. Make plans now to attend numerous sports events throughout the year in the Pine Tree state. You won’t be disappointed!
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