June 22, 2018
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Lighting issue prompts Bangor to move football opener to Husson

By Ernie Clark, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — A problem with the lights at Cameron Stadium has prompted the move of Friday night’s season-opening Class A varsity football game between Bangor and Brunswick to the Winkin Complex at Husson University.

The opening kickoff still is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Workers were changing light bulbs at the stadium Wednesday in preparation for the start of the fall sports season when Bangor High School athletic administrator Steve Vanidestine was alerted to a potential problem.

The city’s electrical department checked on the situation Thursday and determined that five capacitors involved in the flow of electricity to the lights were not working.

Parts needed to be ordered to make the needed repairs, so Vanidestine contacted Brunswick athletic administrator Gene Keene, Husson University officials and Bangor head football coach Mark Hackett to discuss options for playing the game — a rematch of a 2011 Pine Tree Conference Class A semifinal won by Bangor 42-14.

“We could have had parts overnighted and tried to make the repairs in time, or we could have moved the game up to 5 o’clock Friday or played Saturday,” said Vanidestine, “but everyone agreed this was the best way to do it and Husson was just great about helping us out.”

Hackett said the shift from the natural-grass surface of Cameron Stadium to the artificial turf at Husson should not have a major impact on either team.

“It came down to whether we wanted to change the date or did we want to play,” said Hackett, whose team played an exhibition game on artificial turf last Friday night at Hampden Academy. “Everyone was already lined up to work the game Friday night anyway, so it just made sense to do it this way.”

This won’t be the first time Bangor has played a countable game at Husson. The Rams defeated Mt. Blue of Farmington 22-12 in a 2010 PTC Class A semifinal that was moved to the Winkin Complex due to weather-related issues.

Bangor is on the road at Lawrence of Fairfield next weekend before playing its next home game against Edward Little of Auburn on Friday, Sept. 14.

John Bapst of Bangor also uses Cameron Stadium for its home games but is not scheduled to play there until it hosts Washington Academy of East Machias on Sept. 15. The Class C Crusaders play their first two games of the season on the road, at Mattanawcook Academy of Lincoln on Friday night and at Mount View of Thorndike on Sept. 8.

The current problem at Cameron Stadium is just the latest electrical-related concern to befall the 68-year-old facility during the last year.

On Sept. 2, 2011, a varsity football game between John Bapst and Mattanawcook Academy was suspended with 9 minutes, 56 seconds left in the fourth quarter due to a power outage.

In that incident, a breaker blew at the nearby transformer power station to cause the outage, which required the teams to return to the stadium the next day to complete the game.

A week later, a Lawrence High School football fan reported receiving an electrical shock from a fence at the Garland Street complex while watching last year’s regular-season game between the Bulldogs and Bangor.

That problem centered on the fence that runs from a transformer located outside the center field baseball fence between the adjacent baseball and football fields. In that case, underground wires and fencing had shifted over time because of frost and erosion and some of the wires became mingled with the fencing.

All of the old wiring subsequently was removed, replaced with new wiring and buried much farther away from the fence.

A fundraising effort currently is under way to renovate Cameron Stadium, which was built in 1944.

The Friends of Cameron Stadium, a nonprofit group formed in 2010, is working to raise $7 million to build a new multipurpose facility at the site that would serve Bangor teams and city residents of all ages as well as bring high school regional and state championship events back to the Queen City.

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