With Portland mulling its options in attracting a replacement for the Portland Pirates, a new investor might be joining the mix.
Godfrey Wood, formerly in charge of the Portland Regional Chamber of commerce and previously a GM for the Pirates, has formed an investment group to purchase an entry in the ECHL. He may be getting help from another investor, who is said to be interesting in helping Portland attract a team by the 2017-2018 season.
Wood declined to divulge the investor’s identity, but said he has ties to Maine. While Wood and his group–which includes former Pirates executive Brad Church as a consultant–are trying to secure a lease to Cross Insurance Arena, the investor is expected to have some say in whether the group pursues an existing or expansion franchise.
Initially the preference was to purchase and relocate a franchise, with Wood believing that the timeline and the cost would compared to a $750,000 expansion fee would be more realistic. However, with the price of relocation potentially increasing, Wood is starting to reconsider that stance. More from the Portland Press Herald:
The ECHL board of governors met last month and didn’t hear any presentations from potential new owners, said Joe Babik, director of communications for the league, which has 27 active teams and one expansion team that will begin play next year. Babik declined to comment on several matters because he said the board meeting is ongoing, but in recess until sometime in September. He wouldn’t comment on Wood’s statement about the transfer tax, or whether investors in other cities were expected to bid on the expansion team. Wood said Jacksonville, Florida, has put together a team of investors who are expected to make a pitch for the expansion team.
Babik did say the team is likely to be awarded when the board meets in September.
“The window is very quickly closing” for a new team to get up and running for the 2017-18 season, he said.
As was noted yesterday in relation to Prescott Valley’s ongoing effort to attract a team, the next few years may see some movement around the AHL and ECHL, creating a competitive landscape. That could make Portland’s ability to secure additional investment all the more crucial to its effort.