LEWISTON — The Androscoggin Bank Colisee has been a cozy second home for the Portland Pirates in recent years. The team has lost just once while playing a fistful of regular-season games at the Lewiston rink in recent years.

This year, the Pirates will get a chance to put that sparkling record on the line as they play out their 2013-14 home schedule at a rink that has in the past been dubbed their home away from home.

“It’s an older arena, it’s a smaller arena,” Portland head coach Ray Edwards said. “It’s an intimidating sort of building. It’s an extra hour for other teams to get there, too, so it makes for a longer trip. It’s definitely a home-ice feel.”

“The players are prepared for this,” Pirates’ CEO and managing partner Brian Petrovek said. “They’re young, they’ve played in leagues and environments where they’ve played in arenas like this. They’re not looking for excuses, they’re looking forward to playing here.”

The team is playing in Lewiston this season due to a disagreement with their previous home, the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, over a lease agreement the Pirates say was all but finalized last April. The arena’s board of trustees disagrees, saying what the Pirates are referring to was only a list of talking points.

The team took the drastic measure of moving the entire home schedule to Lewiston, further splitting the team’s training facility at the OA Performance center and MHG Ice Centre in Saco from the team’s home rink. Now, instead of the 17-mile drive between the two, there are 48 miles separating the practice facility from the game facility. For the players, that means an extra stint on a bus for home games, at least for now.


“Our plan is to transport our players from the Saco facility to the Colisee for every single game,” Petrovek said. “I’d consider that a luxury for the players. They can rest and relax. We just did the drive, it was less than 50 minutes. It wasn’t hard at all, and for many, I think it could be an advantage to not have to drive to and from the rink.”

“It is what it is, we move forward, it’s that simple,” Edwards said. “Going from 13 to 38, we may revisit (busing),” Edwards said. “We’ll see what works best for us. We’ll get together as a staff here in the next couple of days and look at the schedule closer and see how we’ll handle all that.”

As for the potential loss of home-ice advantage due to the travel, Edwards isn’t worried.

“That didn’t affect us at all last year, having to get used to the surroundings,” Edwards said. “When the fans are on your side in a place like that, it helps you.”

As for the team itself, it skated Thursday, a day after defeating the University of New Brunswick 4-0 in an exhibition game in Saco.

“Our guys had a good skate today,” Edwards said. “We worked on a lot of different things. There’s so much to cover right now, there’s a lot of areas we’re trying to touch. We have two games this weekend, we want to make sure they have a good foundation for those games so they can have some structure to their games.”

NOTES: The Pirates play their only home preseason game Saturday at the MHG Ice Centre in Saco against Manchester. Game time is 12:30 p.m. … The Pirates’ parent club, the Phoenix Coyotes, assigned two players — forwards Andy Miele and Jordan Szwarz — to Portland on Thursday afternoon.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: