As they attempt to attract an ECHL franchise, Cross Insurance Arena officials are moving forward with negotiations with a pair of groups.
The Cross Insurance Arena trustees authorized negotiations with National Sports Services and Spectra, the latter of which operates the venue. Over the coming months, the arena officials will try to come to tentative lease terms with one of the groups and bring a team to the Portland, ME venue.
For now, officials are hoping to have something in place before the ECHL board of governors meets in June. A this point, however, it is uncertain as to how and when Portland would break into the league. More from the Portland Press Herald:
Having a lease in place by June is no guarantee that Portland could land an ECHL team for next winter. The ECHL already is working on its 2017-18 schedule and league spokesman Joe Babik said last week that “there will be no other additions other than Worcester and Jacksonville.”
The Worcester (Mass.) Railers are an expansion franchise. The Jacksonville Icemen relocated from Evansville, Indiana. The Alaska Aces, members of the ECHL for 15 years, will be in what Babik termed “voluntary suspension” for the 2017-18 season after announcing in February that it was no longer economically sustainable for the franchise to operate in Anchorage.
“We’re trying to make sure we’re not holding up any opportunities for next fall, but ultimately the ECHL will make that decision,” Berkowitz said.
The trustees considered four proposals before moving forward with negotiations, including pitches from former Rochester Americans (AHL) owner Steve Donner and Syracuse Junior Hockey Stars founder Donald Kirnan. Cross Insurance Arena has been without hockey last May, when the AHL’ s Portland Pirates relocated to Springfield, MA.
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