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Uncertainty surrounds Cross Insurance Arena as Pirates ship out

August 22, 2019


M HAS BEEN IN MAINE SINCE 1993, BUT NOW, PORTLAND’S PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY TEAM IS SEVERING TIES WITH THE CITY AND CROSS INSURANCE ARENA THEIR FINAL , SEASON HERE ENDING JUST WEEKS AGO. PORTLAND PIRATES FANS CHEERED ON THE TEAM, AS THEY HEADED INTO THE PLAYOFFS LESS THAN TWO WEEKS AGO. LITTLE DID THEY KNOW — IT WOULD BE FOR THE LAST TIME. THE TEAM’S MOVE TO SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS CATCHING THE CITY OFF-GUARD. ETHAN STRIMLING: WE HAVE A VERY DIVERSE ECONOMY IN PORTLAND. SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENING IS NOT GOING TO PUT US UNDER, THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. BUT SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENING WILL HAVE A RIPPLE EFFECT. COURTNEY: THE PIRATES RELEASED THIS STATEMENT THAT SAYS IN PART, “A LETTER OF INTENT HAS BEEN SIGNED WITH AN OUTSIDE BUYER TO PURCHASE AND RELOCATE THE AHL FRANCHISE TO A NEW CITY DETAILS ABOUT THE SALE HAVE NOT BEEN DISCLOSED, PENDING APPROVAL FROM THE AHL BOARD OF GOVERNORS AND THE TEAM’S AFFILIATE, THE FLORIDA PANTHERS. FOR FANS, THE BUYOUT COMES AS NO SURPRISE. EMERSON DOTY: AS FAR AS I LAST SAW, ATTENDANCE WAS A LITTLE LACKLUSTER. ETHAN STRIMLING: THEY HAD A BUY OUT CLAUSE, THEY’RE GOING TO EXERCISE THEIR BUY OUT CLAUSE. MAYBE NEXT TIME WE’LL LOOK AT A STRONGER BUY OUT CLAUSE THAT MIGHT HAVE A BETTER FINANCIAL IMPACT FOR US. COURTNEY: NOW, CUMBERLAND COUNTY WILL BE LOOKING FOR A NEW MAJOR TENANT AFTER SPENDING TAXPAYER DOLLARS TO RENOVATE THE CROSS INSURANCE ARENA IN 2013. ETHAN STRIMLING: THIS IS NOT JUST A PRIVATE BUSINESS THAT’S UP AND LEAVING. TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF PUBLIC MONEY WENT INTO THIS FACILITY UNDER AN AGREEMENT THAT THIS TEAM IS GOING TO BE HERE. KEVIN KELLY: ESPECIALLY DURING WINTER, IT’S PREDOMINANTLY PORTLAND PIRATES SO FOR THEM TO LEAVE AND NOT HAVE A REPLACEMENT BACK UP KIND OF SEEMS LIKE A WAST COURTNEY: OFFICIALS WITH THE PIRATES SAY ALL TICKETS FOR THE UPCOMING SEASON WILL BE REFUNDED. THE CROSS INSURANCE ARENA BOARD OF TRUSTEES WILL GATHER TOMORROW MORNING FOR A SPECIAL MEETIN HOWEVER, IT’S UNCLEAR WHETHER THE PIRATES MOVE WILL BE DISCUSSED.

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