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Pirates announce 5-year lease with Civic Center

The Portland Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center announced today a new, long-term five-year lease effective with the 2005-06 AHL season. This agreement replaces the existing lease between the Pirates and the Civic Center which had one year plus an option year remaining.

The announcement was made today at a press conference at the Cumberland County Civic Center by Civic Center Trustee Chair Bill Whitten, Civic Center General Manager Steve Crane, Civic Center Controller Mark Eddy, Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek and Pirates President/COO Brian Williams.

The new lease will add state of the art scoreboard and video board technology to the venue, renovations to the team’s locker room, and provides the team with aggressive rent rebate incentives on a per game and season long basis tied to actual turnstile attendance.

The Pirates signed a two-year agreement with an option for a third year back in 2003, but now the new lease provides the Pirates with a long term commitment to the Civic Center, the fans and the entire Portland community.

“We appreciate the spirit within which our discussions took place. We’re very pleased with the result and are thrilled to now be able to represent that we are here for the long haul,” said Petrovek.

“I am happy that we have been able to work with the Pirates management to keep the highest level of minor league hockey in the City of Portland for the next five years,” said Crane.

“I am very pleased that the Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center have reached this agreement,” said David Andrews, President and CEO of the American Hockey League. “The fans and the city of Portland are a storied part of AHL history, and we look forward to being able to continue that tradition for years to come.”

The new agreement between the Pirates and the Cumberland County Civic Center guarantees professional hockey in the city of Portland through 2010. Dating back to the days of the Maine Mariners, the American Hockey League has now played hockey in Portland for over 27 years. Only five other teams (Hershey, Rochester, Providence, Springfield and Cleveland) have had an American Hockey League franchise in their city longer than Portland. Dating back to the Mariners inaugural season in 1977 over 1,000 games have been played in front of over 5,500,000 fans all at the American Hockey League level. The AHL is the top development league for the National Hockey League and is celebrating its 69th season of play. The building has hosted four Calder Cup Champions in 1978, 1979, 1984 and 1994 and the building and the Pirates hosted the 2003 Dodge AHL All-Star Classic.