LEWISTON — The Portland Pirates might play some games in Lewiston next year, but Androscoggin Bank Colisee owner Jim Cain said Sunday there are no plans to sell the Colisee, nor does Pirates’ owner Brian Petrovek plan on purchasing the property.
A report surfaced Sunday morning citing an unnamed source inside the American Hockey League team that said Petrovek is “expected” to put in a bid to purchase the Colisee from Cain’s Firland Management “within the next couple of days.”
“In order for someone to buy the place, there has to be an offer on the table, and there just isn’t,” Cain said Sunday from Toronto, where he is on vacation visiting his grandkids.
“Yes, we have been in discussion with Brian and the Pirates about a half dozen dates for the Pirates to possibly play hockey in Lewiston next season around their building renovations, but there hasn’t been any talk of any acquisitions with that.”
Petrovek also explicitly denied that he planned on submitting an offer.
“No, we have no plans to put in any offer in the next couple of days,” Petrovek said Sunday. “We’ve certainly been in touch over the years about ways we could work together, to help grow the game of hockey in the marketplace. And certainly over the last couple of years we’ve talked extensively about possibly bringing a junior hockey team to the market. Those conversations have gotten a bit more frequent of late, given the availability of the building.”
Rumors have circulated in the Twin Cities’ hockey community for a while about the possibility of the Pirates spending all of 2012-13 in Lewiston, but Cain said that isn’t likely, either.
“That’s not going to happen, at least, not where we stand right now,” Cain said. “We have talked about other things, including junior hockey.”
According to Petrovek, the American Hockey League’s deadline for submitting available dates on which to schedule games at teams’ home facilities is February 15, giving the Pirates 10 days to figure out how the impending renovations at the Cumberland County Civic Center will affect the team’s ability to play there next season.
“My hope, long-term, is a long-term lease at a renovated Cumberland County Civic Center,” Petrovek said. “I asked Jim for six dates already, just to give us a bit more to wrap our heads around, just in case we do have to play some games at the Colisee. I needed to look at what Jim had for a schedule, and see what the impact of those dates would be.”
Cain said that perhaps the thoughts of ownership may stem from conversations he’s had with Petrovek about jointly owning a junior hockey franchise that would play out of the Colisee.
“That’s probably where all this is coming from,” Cain said. “We’ve been talking about the idea of a junior hockey team and the USHL (United States Hockey League), and the idea that that league may expand to the East soon. That hasn’t changed, and it’s looking more and more like (expansion) might happen in 2013-14. So we’ve had discussions about putting an Eastern Junior Hockey League team at the Colisee with the possibility of rolling it up to the USHL when the time comes.”
Petrovek did leave open the possibility that the two entities could one day form a partnership based on more than hockey, but also echoed Cain’s sentiments that saying “never” is, well, never a good policy.
“We’ve obviously made it clear to Jim that if there ever was an opportunity to talk about a business relationship, we’d certainly be open to that,” Petrovek said. “We’re always looking at ways to grow our portfolio. Our relationship has always been great, but we’ve made no offer to purchase the Colisee, nor do we have any plans on doing so.”