Portland Pirates Leave Portland, Will Play All Home Games In Lewiston This Season
After contentious negotiations with the trustees of the Cumberland County Civic Center failed, the management of the Portland Pirates American Hockey League team will play all 38 of the team's regular season games in Lewiston, club officials announced on Thursday.
In a press conference at the team's new home, the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Portland Pirates Managing Owner/CEOBrian Petrovek announced the team's new home rink.
"We will be playing our entire 2013-14 38-game home regular season schedule, plus playoffs if our team earns that right, in the building we are all in right now, the historic Androscoggin Bank Colisee," he said.
Petrovek added that the team has not closed the door on returning to Portland in future seasons, but the move to Lewiston was necessary after the team was unable to settle a lease dispute in Portland.
The team will continue to be called the Portland Pirates for the foreseeable future. "We do not feel it is our place or right to strip the equity and value of what has been built by countless players, coaches, staff, fans, former owners, sponsors and friends for over two decades because of decisions made by nine Trustees of the Cumberland County Civic Center," Petrovek said.
"The Cumberland County court appointed settlement and mediation process was not successful, unfortunately, for our thousands of fans and supporters in the region, and ended late yesterday afternoon," he said. "We will be proceeding with litigation to protect our rights, primarily the right to play hockey, for our players, and in front of our fans, in the Cumberland County Civic Center in the future."
"All we have asked for, during this ill-timed, protracted five month period, is that the Civic Center honor the the deal terms which both parties agreed to and which were approved by the Civic Center Board of Trustees on April 17 of this year. The Trustees have refused to do that. And for that reason, Pirates fans should be outraged, but we consider ourselves fortunate that we can now provide them with a venue to see the team play just up the road and for that, we are grateful and determined to make this a success," Petrovek continued.