Despite uncertainty, Maineiacs plan ahead

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LEWISTON — The official future of the Lewiston Maineiacs, while apparently more clear this week than it has been recently, remains unsettled.

But that’s not stopping the franchise from pushing forward with plans to market the team this summer or selling season tickets.

The team’s loyalty pricing program ended Monday, and according to team president and governor Bill Schurman, the Maineiacs had sold 444 season ticket or flex packages by Tuesday morning. The loyalty program presented past-season ticket holders the opportunity to return as ticket-holders for next season at significantly reduced rates.

Pricing in effect through the end of July will continue to offer season tickets and flex packs to the general public at prices far below last season’s rates, and all packages will include the first two games of the 2012 President’s Cup playoffs.

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“While we didn’t agree that the price was high relative to other markets in junior hockey and across the league, if the customer’s perception is that the price is too high, the only way to combat that is to lower the price and hope that the volume of tickets we sell can outweigh the drop in price and what that will do to the bottom line,” Schurman said. “We’re certainly hoping that perception is reality, and that this will help peoples’ decisions in the offseason to come out and support the team.”

Coach J.F. Houle, team athletic therapist Brian Morrison and assistant GM Tim Schurman are all expected to take part in the team’s drive to see season tickets,” Schurman said. But selling tickets in house isn’t the only project on the team’s plate, as he acknowledged the necessity of connecting the team to the area’s — and the state’s — business community.

“We’re currently negotiating with an independent sales group, and hopefully we can come to an agreement soon,” Schurman said. “Hopefully that will allow us to attract bigger businesses and from a wider area across the state. We’re interviewing next week people who had expressed interest in our sales positions, as well.”

As it has all season, the team is also enlisting its core group of volunteers, known as Lewy’s Legion.

“The other group of people we have is our core of volunteers,” Schurman said. “We understand the power of people with passion for our team can help us out, and they’ve been tremendous at that. Many of them have taken the initiative. They’ve said they’ll take a list of names and businesses and they’ll ask the people themselves on behalf of the team.”

Schurman said he plans on the team having a presence at Oxford Plains Speedway this summer, and that Lewy’s Legion will also fan out across several of the state’s outdoor events as the weather turns more favorable.

“We’re doing a partnership with Oxford Plains Speedway and we’ll have representatives and our T-shirt cannon out there,” Schurman said. “Lewy (the team’s mascot) is sort of the face of the organization in the offseason. He’ll be very aggressive as the face of the team. And our Lewy’s Legion volunteers will represent us at every fair or festival possible.”

The next item on the team’s calendar is the annual QMJHL entry draft and league meetings, which begin in two weeks. The draft itself takes place on Saturday, June 4, in Victoriaville, Quebec.

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