Cumberland County Civic Center make offer to Pirates

When the Portland Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center couldn’t reach an agreement on a lease to begin the season, the Pirates picked up and moved operations to nearby Lewiston, ME. A new lease agreement put forth by the CCCC could bring the Pirates back home.

The lease agreement, first reported by Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy, was approved by trustees of the CCCC by a 6-2 vote. However, Roy reports that the agreement must be accepted by Feb. 3 or the deal expires.

In April of last year, the two sides had agreed to an outline of a lease agreement, but talks later broke down over parts of the deal. One issue was the division of money received from the sale of liquor on the premises.

In December, Ron Cain, a minority owner at the time the initial talks broke down, acquired a majority stake in the team.

Roy tweeted out he wishes he could be “more optimistic about today, but the reality is this is it. If both sides can’t agree this time. Its over.”

The Portland Pirates front office was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing. This story will continue to develop.


Divide between Pirates, CCCC grows larger

Chris Roy over at the Sun Journal has all your information on the current battle brewing between the Portland Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center. It seems as though this season for the Pirates won’t start without this extra bit of distraction.

Roy’s entire piece from Thursday can be read here: Pirates, CCCC headed for legal showdown

As Roy reports, the two sides continue to argue over what appears to be a spoken agreement on an extended lease that would keep the CCCC as the home of the Pirates for another five seasons. However, the formal agreement was unsigned according to all reports on the matter.

The crux of the argument is the division of funds received on the sale of concessions. From Roy’s story:

In the April 17 “framework,” Civic Center trustees and the Pirates agreed to a 57½-to-42½ percent split of all food and beverage revenue — including alcohol, something the hockey team had long sought. However, while drafting the agreement, it was brought to their attention the plan to share alcohol revenue violated state law. According to the rule, the team is not allowed to profit from the sale of alcohol in the building because only the building owner is listed on the liquor license.

Without their home rink to play in, it could see the Pirates taking a prolonged stay at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, where the team has already decided to host a handful of their first home dates this coming season.

With how the partnerships between AHL teams and their host cities tend to go — there is a reason why we see a handful of teams move on a regular basis — this could reach a breaking point that could see the team leave Portland. If that happens, it would end the run of one of the longest tenured AHL runs.

This is purely speculation, but with a team no longer in Houston and the tension between these two sides, it would almost make sense that if the Pirates and the CCCC fail to come to terms the Pirates go to a market that has already proven it can support the AHL.