Lewiston Maine Junior Hockey Expansion

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Lewiston Maine Junior Hockey Expansion?

With a new year on the horizon, hockey fans in Lewiston are closer to knowing the brand of hockey they will have a chance to see full time at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

But nothing is yet set in stone.

"We’re continuing to look at the junior hockey model," Colisee owner Jim Cain said. "We’re moving down that road pretty quickly, and we should know something early in the new year on that front."

The speculation from the beginning of the Colisee’s search process was that Cain and his team were hoping to latch onto an Eastern expansion of the United States Hockey League, the top junior hockey league in the country.

That potential still exists, Cain said, but there may be a step in between.

Jim Cain also operates Perani Arena in Flint Michigan, home of the North American Hockey League’s Michigan Warriors. Having two seasons under his belt in watching how an NAHL team operates, and learning the do’s and dont’s, "the step in between" would appear to be the NAHL or the Eastern Junior Hockey League.

The EJHL would appear to be the more likely choice simply due to the geographic advantages. Not to mention people in the east are known to support their local players very well, and "outsiders" are seen as taking opportunity away from local kids.

The NAHL though would be one step below the USHL, and it is a product Cain is familiar with. The costs to operate an NAHL franchise in Maine would be astronomical though. Visiting teams would almost certainly require a travel subsidy, which could easily lift the operating expenses for an NAHL team past the One Million Dollar mark. That said, owning the arena and not having an ice bill to pay makes life a whole lot easier.

Lewiston can support Junior Hockey, the Maineiacs had a solid hard core fan base, the costs to operate in the QMJHL are much more than the USHL or any other United States based league. The arena is perfect for Junior or Minor pro, and Mr. Cain is clearly committed to operating a team next year. Stating that "we should know something early in the new year" tells TJHN that most likely an expansion application was submitted to USA Hockey before the December 15th deadline.

TJHN will keep you up to date as this story develops.

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