Colisee, Pirates Strike Deal

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Colisee, Pirates strike deal

In a move that took the Lewiston Area Youth Hockey League, its board members and its member parents and hockey players by surprise, as part of a far-reaching agreement between Androscoggin Bank Colisee owner Firland Management, the Portland Pirates and Maine Hockey Group, the Portland Junior Pirates have purchased all available ice time from the Colisee for the 2012-13 season and will begin offering programs to Lewiston area players out of the Lewiston facility.

"Over the past few years, we’ve looked at youth hockey and its participation in this building with the house level, the LAYHL, and the travel level, the Gladiators," Firland president Jim Cain said. "While things have moved along okay, clearly there is a decline in ice use compared to where we need to get to. We need to be able to sell an additional 500 hours of ice time at the USA Hockey level. That means summer hockey, it means camps, it means skills development, things that have not been happening."

Many of the questions at a Tuesday news conference came from concerned parents and coaches, who grilled MHG’s Ron Cain, who owns the Junior Pirates program, and program director Brad Church, about the impact this change would have on the current house and travel hockey players and their families.

Portland will have teams in both the EJHL and EmJHL in the 2012 – 2013 season.

To the question of cost, Cain said there would undoubtedly be some changes, depending on the level of play.

"The house will probably be comparable (to current costs)," Ron Cain said. "But when you’re talking about what we’re going to be doing for travel, they’re getting, again, it’s different development. You’re getting almost two additional hours per travel team, so the tuition would have to go up by at least that. Then we’re going to have people here full time that are going to be focused on this area. So yes, the tuition will increase. I’m not sure how much yet, we haven’t sat down to really figure it out. It also depends on the league we play in."

Ron Cain said that, though his organization has purchased all of the ice at the Colisee, he doesn’t have a problem at all with the other groups continued usage.

"There’s room for other people, too," Ron Cain said. "That’s fine with us. We coexist with Biddeford Youth Hockey in the Saco area, and the Huskies, and all the other people. It’s a choice, it really is a choice. For the folks, (playing for the Junior Pirates) is a commitment, because it is a lot more in terms of ice time."

Mark Anthoine, whose son, also named Mark, currently plays for the University of Maine Black Bears, is a part-owner in the Maine Hockey Group. A Lewiston native, he said Tuesday he’s excited for this opportunity for the area’s youth hockey players.

"We’re hoping that the people of Lewiston, where I live, see this as a really good opportunity for the growth and development of the sport," Anthoine said. "I know a lot of people involved in the LAYHL. It was instrumental in my kids’ development, and there are a lot of good people involved. We’re hoping that these same people will want to continue to be involved in Lewiston youth hockey."

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