Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates ownership focus continues to be Portland

Portland, ME – The message was the same from Portland Pirates Managing Owner /CEO Brian Petrovek that it’s been all along as he held an impromptu press conference to discuss the reported rumors of the AHL’s franchise relocation to Albany, NY.

“My focus continues to be… since we got this franchise 10 years ago was to establish a long term position in this market place, and to work toward a solution for a renovated or new building and that hasn’t changed since the time we moved here in Oct 2000 to today,” said Petrovek.

Petrovek declined to speak about a recent article in Albany’s Times Union, indicating that the Pirates were a candidate to relocate there for next season.

“As far as I’m concerned there will be no public comment about the Albany situation, or any other market that may or may not be available for relocation or movement,” he said. “So if you have questions about Albany I would suggest you just not ask them because I’m not going to answer them.”

When he did speak about the situation, it seemed as if he was making a point that he was negotiating with Cumberland County on a lease extension.

“My focus is on a deal with the Cumberland County Civic Center,” he said. “There’s no other deal we have with any other market, any other management company or any other building owner.”

“Our focus continues to be on extending our lease,” he went on to add. “We began that conversation in earnest in April 2009 and it continues today.”

This is not the first time Portland has been in this situation as the Pirates went down to the 11th hour at the negotiating table back in 2005, when the franchise was within hours of signing a deal with the City of Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Pirates, along with the County, were able to come to an agreement and a new affiliation with the Anaheim Ducks revived a franchise in dire need of a makeover.

“We look at our situation here as a long term one, if economics were critical four or five years ago we would have moved to Worcester,” Petrovek said.

Since that time, the Ducks have moved on and the Buffalo Sabres have become the Pirates new affiliate, which is in its second year of a five year affiliation agreement.

The Sabres had no comment on the situation, but Petrovek indicated that the Sabres were happy with the organization and with being in Portland.

The Pirates lease with the Cumberland County Civic Center expires in April.

“We remain optimistic that we will find common ground which is what exactly intended to do from the get go,” said Petrovek.

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