PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Pirates professional hockey team announced Wednesday that it has reached a deal to continue playing at the Cumberland County Civic Center at least through the 2017-18 season.
The agreement with the civic center trustees came just days before the team’s previous lease was to expire in concert with its last regular season game on April 20. The Pirates are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes.
The team announced that the new deal also includes an option to extend the lease through 2022-23.
“I’m excited for our fans, sponsors, and our team that we’ve reached a mutually beneficial agreement with the Cumberland County Civic Center to perform in a state of the art facility for many, many years” said Brian Petrovek, managing owner and CEO of the Pirates, in a statement. “As we complete a 20th anniversary season, we now, with this relationship in place, can look forward to celebrating 40 years of AHL hockey in Portland just a few years from now.”
Petrovek was a vocal advocate for a $33 million bond county voters approved in 2011 for renovations to the 6,700-seat civic center. That project has begun, and the second phase is scheduled to begin after the Pirates’ season ends.
The team, which claimed a Calder Cup league championship in its first season in 1994, is in a strong position to qualify for the playoffs for the 15th time this season, potentially delaying that work.
Details of the proposed lease extension were not immediately announced by the team Wednesday afternoon, but according to a Tuesday report by The Forecaster, the Pirates had been seeking a portion of the civic center concession sales revenue, which they currently don’t get.