The Portland Pirates announced today a new five-year affiliation agreement with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim effective with the 2005-2006 AHL season. The announcement was made today by Pirates managing owner/CEO Brian Petrovek and Ducks’ senior vice president/interim general manager Al Coates.
Joining Petrovek and Coates were Pirates chairman/governor Lyman Bullard; Pirates president/COO Brian Williams; Mighty Ducks assistant GM Chuck Fletcher; first-year pro Tim Brent, who this season played in 46 games with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks; first-year pro and former University of Maine Black Bear Dustin Penner, who appeared in 77 games this season; along with Mighty Ducks mascot Wild Wing and Pirates mascot Salty Pete.
“This is such a great day for our fans and for our entire organization and represents an important turning point in the history of Portland Pirates hockey,” said Petrovek. “From my initial conversation with the Ducks, I knew that this had the makings of a special relationship, one that we’re confident will raise the bar beginning today and for many years to come. This is all about striving to be the very best, competing for championships and making a difference in our community. We’re looking forward to great days ahead.”
“We are thrilled to announce that we are entering into a long-term affiliation agreement with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim,” said Bullard. “Their entire organization has demonstrated a very strong commitment to providing us with outstanding players and coaches that will enable us to consistently compete for a Calder Cup championship each year and to being an active partner that will assist us in attaining our goals as a contributing member of the Greater Portland business community. We believe that all of our fans and business partners will greatly benefit from our new partnership with Anaheim and we look forward to a long and successful relationship.”
Before teaming up with the Pirates, the Ducks were affiliated with the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks dating back to 1997. During that span, the team has made the playoffs five times. The Mighty Ducks finished the 2004-05 season with a record of 44-31-1-4 for 93 points and a third-place finish in the West Division. They set a club record for most wins and most home wins (28). Their success this past season pushed the team to the West Division final against the Chicago Wolves.
“We are very excited to be coming to a traditional hockey market and working with the Pirates’ ownership and management team,” said Coates. “Having our players in a marketplace conducive to both on and off-ice development with a group committed to winning will be very healthy for the continuation of our development that we’ve had over the last several years.”
Anaheim becomes the second NHL affiliate in Pirates history. Until the end of this season, the Pirates were affiliated with the Washington Capitals for 12 seasons. Over that span, the Pirates compiled a record of 423-373-128 and made nine Calder Cup playoff appearances, including one banner season in 1993-94 when the Pirates won the Calder Cup.
The new long-term agreement between the Pirates and the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim guarantees professional hockey in the city of Portland through 2010. Since the Maine Mariners’ inaugural season in 1977, over 1,000 games have been played in front of over 5.5 million fans at the American Hockey League level.