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Dispute Between Pirates and Civic Center
09/25/2013   Reported By: Tom Porter

There is still no resolution in the ongoing faceoff between the Portland Pirates hockey team and its landlord, the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Civic Center board met today to take up the legal dispute over the share of concessions revenue for the upcoming season.

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Cumberland  County Civic Center

The board met behind closed doors for about 90 minutes after which chair Neal Pratt had little to say: We're still under the umbrella of the court's judicial settlement conference process so we can't make any comment due to that confidentiality.
Back in April the Civic Center and the Pirates tentatively agreed to split the combined alcohol and food revenue at games,but the agreement has since fallen apart, and prompted a lawsuit brought by the team.
The Pirates start their season next month playing at the Colisee in Lewiston, but are due to move back to the Civic Center once it re-opens in January after undergoing a $33 million dollar bond-funded renovation.
Chris Roy of Maine Hockey Journal says time is running out for the team, which is an American Hockey League Affiliate of the NHL'S Phoenix Coyotes.

I believe that the Pirates have to make a decision as to where they're going to play this year within the next couple of weeks. The league begins on October 4th, the Pirates have their first home game on October 12, so the League has to know before then where they'll play their home games this season, so I believe we're starting to run up to that crunch time where a decision has to be made.

Roy says the Civic Center trustees are likely to be acting very cautiously in any negotiations with the Pirates because they're spending a lot of tax-payer money.
But if the Pirates follow through with threats to abandon the Portland arena, Roy says the trustees will be in a difficult situation.

They're going to try and find another tenant but depending on what the Portland Pirates do, they play full-time in Lewiston or they look at another option, that could hurt the Civic Center's chances of getting another hockey tenant in the building.

And hockey, he says, is realistically the only sport that the Civic Center can be used for at this point.



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