After being jettisoned to Lewiston, ME. and playing half a season away from their home building, the Portland Pirates have reached a lease agreement with the Cumberland County Civic Center that will see the team head back home.
Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy broke the story, and the Pirates are set to make an announcement at 2 p.m.
The lease agreement, which was previously approved by the CCCC’s Board of Trustees by a 6-2 margin, was submitted to the Pirates with the explicit direction to have a response by Monday. Majority owner Ron Cain and his team have come to a decision that will see the team back in Portland at the beginning of next season.
The agreement will keep the Pirates in the CCCC for the next five years, beginning with the 2014-15 season with this current lease expiring in 2019-20.
Playing in Lewiston has severely hurt attendance for the Pirates, who went from drawing an average of 4,444 fans per game last season to roughly 2,400 a night in Lewiston.
The lease will take effect beginning for the 2014-’15 season and potentially keep the team at the Civic Center where the team has played since it relocated from Baltimore in 1993. The hockey team has played this season at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston since the dispute broke out in August.
The Pirates were originally scheduled to play 13 games in Lewiston, while the Civic Center underwent a $37 million renovation that is mostly complete. The Civic Center will begin hosting events next weekend with the Maine Home Show, scheduled for Feb. 15.
The Pirates, however, will not return to the Civic Center until next season due to its current lease with Firland Management, owners of the Colisee, and the logistics of moving the team to Portland with less than three months left in the season.