Darryl Antonacci of Princeton, New Jersey, is followed off the ice by Jim Cain after a ceremonial puck drop at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston before a Maine Nordiques game Nov. 4, 2019. Cain is expected to sell the Colisee to Antonacci, a spine and scoliosis surgeon who plans to move to Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — The Androscoggin Bank Colisee is likely changing hands.

Jim Cain, whose Firland Management has owned the Colisee for 12 years, is expected to sell the building to Darryl Antonacci, owner of the Maine Nordiques junior hockey team.

Antonacci, a spine and scoliosis surgeon from Princeton, New Jersey, plans to move to Auburn.

A joint news release Friday announced the sale, stating Antonacci will increase his share of ownership “to acquire the entire interest of the Cain family in the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.”

“This is a good strategic move given that Dr. Antonacci is prepared to enhance the growth development of high-level youth and Junior Hockey within the region,” Cain said in the release. “This is a major capital commitment from Dr. Antonacci who is planning major facility improvements and program enhancements in the near future.”

The ownership change will go into effect April 1, according to the release.

Cain purchased the Colisee from the city in 2008, agreeing to pay $1.2 million in a series of payments beginning in 2013. At the time, the arena on Birch Street was a money-losing entity for the city, but was anchored by the Lewiston Maineiacs, an ice hockey franchise in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Before the sale can be finalized, the City Council will have to sign off on the deal Tuesday. Due to the original agreement between the city and Cain, the city retained the first right of refusal to purchase the Colisee in the event it was for sale.

City Administrator Ed Barrett said the council will be asked Tuesday to waive that right, meaning the city will “stand aside,” clearing the way for the sale to Antonacci.

He said the council action will also include “clearing up” finances between the city and Firland Management. According to Barrett, the city is still owed roughly $850,000 on the mortgage, but has been offered a $600,000 lump payment to get out from under the mortgage and complete the sale.

Ever since the Maineiacs folded in 2011, Cain has attempted to stabilize revenue by attracting other teams and hockey events. However, there have been rocky years for the arena.

In 2014, according to Barrett, the city and Firland entered into a forbearance agreement on the mortgage, which lengthened the repayment schedule and tied payments more closely to the arena’s cash flow given its seasonal nature.

A City Council memo released Friday afternoon states that, “even with these concessions, the facility has continued to struggle and has, from time to time, fallen behind on its obligations to the city for taxes and miscellaneous fees. The city has worked with Firland because the facility presents a value to the community and the city is not interested in once again taking ownership of the Colisee.”

The term of the existing mortgage runs through 2023.

Barrett said that because the city’s loan to Firland has been interest-free, a $600,000 lump payment now has arguably the same value now as payments made through 2023.

According to the council memo, officials will vote on the following language: “The Council hereby waives its right to repurchase the Colisee to allow its pending sale to a third party to move forward and accepts a lump sum payment of $600,000 in fulfillment of the loan granted to Firland Management, LLC.”

In 2019, when the Maine Nordiques were awarded a franchise in the North American Hockey League, a Tier II junior league, Cain praised the deal for what it meant for local hockey, but also because it secured Antonacci as “a business manager and partner.”

The joint statement released by Antonacci said he plans further upgrades to the arena, including its main concession areas.

Jim Cain, left, shakes hands with Mark Frankenfield, NAHL commissioner, after a ceremonial puck drop at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston in November 2019 before a Maine Nordiques game. Cain is expected to sell the Colisee to Darryl Antonacci, back right, a spine and scoliosis surgeon from Princeton, New Jersey.  Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo Buy this Photo


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. 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.