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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Maineiacs to Summerside? Not so fast

As someone who sat through a "will they stay or will they go" situation with the Portland Pirates last year, I was hesitant to jump on this one until someone from the team commented on it.

A source with knowledge in the Maineiacs organization, who didn't want to go on the record due to the sensitive nature of the situation, admits the team is looking for a new home, but stressed that:

"Nothing is in place at this time. Not for Summerside, not anywhere."

A tweet from a Canadian businessman yesterday and quotes from the Mayor of Charlottetown Clifford Lee sparked a firestorm, including one internet report that stated that a "prospective deal was in place". Not the case says the source.

"If Summerside came to us with that deal (rumored to be 1.5 mil), we would have already accepted it," stated the source. "Currently, we are talking to different cities, but nothing is finalized, and no paperwork for relocation has been filed with the league."

Currently, the Maineiacs attendance is the biggest Achilles heel. To keep the team in town, the team needs to make roughly 4 dollars more per person who comes through the gate than they currently are. It was also revealed that the organization has not made a profit in any of the seasons it has been in Lewiston, including the 2007 President's Cup year. It is projected the team will lose $600,000 this season, which is an actually an improvement of around $300,000 from last year.

There is a January 31st deadline with the QMJHL to file for relocation, and as Justin Pelletier from the Sun Journal points out, the league has yet to receive any official request for relocation.

There are also potential stumbling blocks in a move to Summerside, as the PEI Rocket is still in town and about 40 miles away, which many feel would defeat the purpose of a relocation, which would mean the QMJHL Board of Governors could deny the move. The league will not approve the team folding, either. It's either relocation or the team will stay put.

When asked why the Canadian businessman and the Mayor of Charlottetown have come out with this, the source says:

"I think the Mayor is trying to build up support to keep the PEI Rocket in town. For the other guy, I think he has an axe to grind for some reason."

So the final word right now? The Maineiacs are looking for a new home, but they haven't found one.


Update: Dave Stewart from the Guardian tweeted that Summerside is denying the reports.


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