Portland Pirates Of AHL Set To Move To Springfield, Mass.
After 23 years in Maine, the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League are on the verge of moving to Springfield, Massachusetts.
Portland Pirates Of AHL Set To Move To Springfield, MA
Springfield’s mayor, Dominic J. Sarno, confirmed that the sale of the city’s AHL team was near in a statement to the Portland Press-Herald.
“I have been informed that a broad-based local investor group has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Portland Pirates,” Sarno said. “While we understand there are still some hurdles to overcome, we are encouraged by this news and hopeful that professional hockey will be back in Springfield this upcoming season.”
Springfield has been seeking to fill the void left by the Springfield Falcons, who were recently sold to the Arizona Coyotes. This sale threatened to end the city’s 80-year tie to the AHL.
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The city is also in the middle of a large-scale renewal of its downtown area, with the arrival of the $950 million MGM Springfield resort casino complex in three years.
Portland now finds itself in the same situation Springfield was in. The city has been home to the Pirates since 1993, when the Baltimore Skipjacks relocated the team to Maine, but Portland’s minor league hockey history goes back to 1977, when the Maine Mariners joined the AHL.
The Pirates had dealt with average seasons and low attendance in the last few years. Entrepreneur Ron Cain became majority owner in 2013. In 2014, he negotiated a five-year lease to keep the team in Portland. That same year, voters approved a $33 million bond to renovate Cross Insurance Arena.
PHOTO: BRIDGEPORT, CT – OCTOBER 22: Kent Huskins #24 and Nathan Marsters #37 of the Portland Pirates eye the play against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Arena at Harbor Yard on October 22, 2005 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The Pirates won 4-1. (Photo by Lisa Meyer/Getty Images)
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