The path to reconciliation between the Portland Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center got a bit wider Thursday.

The Pirates have dropped “without prejudice” their breach of contract lawsuit against the Civic Center’s board of trustees, and have confirmed that the two sides will return to the negotiating table with the hope of hammering out an agreement for the 2014-15 season and beyond.

“We’ll be meeting, not next week because of the holidays, but the week after,” Pirates majority owner Ron Cain said.

Cain became the team’s majority owner last week, assuming that role from Lyman Bullard. Bullard and managing owner Brian Petrovek have remained part of the team’s ownership group.

“This is certainly what we hoped would happen,” Cain said. “We hoped a change in ownership and a change in direction would lead to this, and we’re looking forward to the meeting.”

“Sitting down for another meeting was a responsible step,” Board of Trustees Chairman Neal Pratt said in a statement. “The dismissal of the lawsuit provides the opportunity for us to determine whether both of our objectives can be achieved.”


“We talked briefly to make sure we were on the same page and had the same desired outcome,” Cain said. “And we did, so we’re happy to be taking this to the next step.”

The team and the Civic Center trustees have been at odds over a new lease at the Portland facility. As the current season began, team ownership said they thought they’d reached an agreement with the trustees back in April. The trustees maintain that while an email with an outline for a lease was sent and discussed, no such agreement was actually entered into.

Already scheduled to play 13 games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston while the Civic Center went through a $34 million renovation, the Pirates announced in September that the team would play its entire 38-game home schedule at the Colisee while continuing to practice and train at the MHG Ice Centre in Saco.

Cain is a majority owner in both of those facilities, as well.

Cain said Thursday that even if an agreement is reached quickly, the Pirates will finish out the season in Lewiston.

“We’re not sure where the construction is at, but I would suspect they’re a little behind,” Cain said. “But that’s fine.”


The Civic Center trustees also announced recently that they’ve reached an agreement with a professional indoor lacrosse league to place a franchise at the Civic Center beginning in fall 2014.

Another wrinkle in the impending negotiations is the introduction of a bill in Augusta by Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Portland), which he plans to introduce in the legislative session beginning Jan. 8. The bill, LR 2669, would allow venues with more than 3,000 seats — the Civic Center, the Colisee and Bangor’s new Cross Insurance Center are three — to share liquor sales revenue with sports teams without having to obtain separate licences.

Sharing of those sales was a sticking point in the previous negotiations between the Pirates and Civic Center trustees.

“We’re certainly aware of the legislation, and it would certainly help if that’s decided sooner,” Cain said. “We’re hoping that can happen as soon as possible.”

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