LEWISTON — Professional hockey is returning — officially — to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

The Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League announced last winter that they would play a ‘handful’ of games at the Lewiston hockey facility while the Cumberland County Civic Center undergoes major renovations.

A handful, apparently, is six.

The Pirates will play six games in Lewiston during the 2012-13 season on the following dates: Friday, Oct. 19; Saturday, Oct. 27; Wednesday, Nov. 14; Friday, Dec. 14; Saturday, Dec. 29; and Sunday, Feb. 17. The first five games at at 7 p.m., with the February game scheduled for 4 p.m.

“Early in the season, with the renovations taking place, for us to have some guaranteed dates available to them really helped them set the schedule up,” Colisee owner Jim Cain said. “We have some great tie-ins on those early dates, too. I know we’ll be making a big push for our Breast Cancer Awareness night in October, and we want to make that a large local event, as well.

“We know there’s been a lot of interest, a lot of energy and enthusiasm around this. People have been asking about it for a while now.”

The Colisee has been without a primary hockey tenant since the Lewiston Maineiacs of the Quebec Major Junior League left after the 2010-11 season. Last year, the Federal Hockey League played five regular season games at the rink on a trial basis.

In the spring, Cain the Portland Pirates and the Portland Junior Pirates announced a partnership that included the creation of a Junior Pirates youth program at the Colisee. Part of that deal was the Junior Pirates’ purchase of all available ice time for youth hockey at the Colisee, and the promise of some AHL and mid-level junior hockey games played in Lewiston this season.

And the Pirates are no strangers to Lewiston.

Prior to the most-recently expired lease between the Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center, which precluded the AHL club from playing away from the Portland arena, the Pirates made some trips to the Lewiston rink, with plenty of success. They played two games during the 2008-09 season, and two more in 2009-10. The Pirates have posted a 3-0-0-1 record in the previous games played at the Colisee.

In addition to the hockey partnership, the Pirates and the Colisee have teamed up locally with Baxter Brewing Company as a sponsor.

“Partnering with the Portland Pirates to bring a set of games to Lewiston, in our backyard, was a no-brainer,” said Luke Livingston, owner, founder, and president of Baxter Brewing Company. “We’re excited to see the Pirates are making an investment in Lewiston and its downtown, just like we are.”

Dubbed “Pirates Hockey Six Packs — Canned by Baxter Brewing Company” hockey fans can purchase a seat for all six of the games in Lewiston in a bundle. That package will include a ticket to each game at a discounted price, as well as a handful of other premium perks, including the opportunity to purchase VIP parking at the games, which includes private parking for all six Lewiston games and exclusive access to the Colisee an hour before the gates open.

Group tickets for the “Pirates Hockey Six Packs – Canned by Baxter Brewing Company” are now on sale.

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