Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates, Civic Center agree to new two-year lease

Portland, ME – After a month of speculation the Portland Pirates are staying put in Portland.  The team and the Cumberland County Civic Center came to an agreement on a two-year lease on Wednesday morning.

“I am pleased to announce as Brian (Petrovek) knows, that the Civic Center Trustees today approved a proposal for a two year lease extension with the Portland Pirates,” said Neal Pratt, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “We are very pleased that we were able to work things out.”

The Pirates were talking with the Albany Times Union Center about moving the club to Albany. The current tenants, the Albany River Rats, are moving to Charlotte, North Carolina next season.

For Petrovek, the Portland Pirates CEO and Managing Owner, he’s glad everything is all squared away.

“We are happy to be in this place today,” Brian Petrovek said. “We are looking forward to looking ahead, and not in the rear view mirror.”

Both sides didn’t want to go through the process, but each side knows it’s part of the business.

“We know there were other opportunities for them,” Pratt said. “So, we are thrilled that they decided to stay and we are glad to have them.”

“We weren’t looking forward to go through, but it comes going in with a final year of a lease,” said Petrovek. “It’s part of reality of the world that land lords and tenants live in.”

“It’s a process that I don’t want to go through again.”

Petrovek knows how much the club means to the community.

“It’s important from our perspective to thank our fans, our sponsors, our team, our friends, and in particular the Buffalo Sabres for the support and the encouragement for the role they played throughout (the process),” Petrovek added.

The biggest thing for Petrovek is having a good product on the ice and that starts with player development.

“We analyze this based on player development, number one, and when you look at player development, you have to factor in three key things. One is to provide a venue for your team to practice in and train in, to provide a venue for your team to compete in, and an environment where our players want to live, work in, and grow in.”

A key factor was the support the fans have shown throughout the years.

“It was a very important part of the decision,” Petrovek said about the fan support. “There’s a history and a tradition and a level of support for this hockey product that is very valuable. That’s why I wanted to start my comments to say thank you to the fans.”

The team itself is relieved that everything has been taken care of.

“I took my daughters to the Carrie Underwood concert on (Monday) night, and when I told them the team was staying in Portland, they thought I was the rock star with the enthusiasm,” Portland Pirates Head Coach Kevin Dineen said Tuesday night after the 3-2 victory over the Lowell Devils. “I feel it’s the same with our fans and certainly with our players in the dressing room.”

“There’s always in transition in life, but when it’s forced on you, it’s not as comfortable a thing.”

Mark Mancari shared the same sentiments after the game Tuesday.

“It plays with the guys heads, a couple of guys were in Rochester before when we had to move to begin with,” Mancari said. “It’s nice to get it out of the way and be able to focus on the game.”

The Pirates return to the ice Friday when they face the Manchester Monarchs in Manchester, NH, they head to Lowell Saturday night and will host the Monarchs on Sunday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, ME.

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