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Friday, August 19, 2011

Portland Pirates announce 2011 - 2012 Schedule

The Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League announced today their schedule of games for the 2011-12 Regular Season.

The Pirates will open their 19th season of competition on the road against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday, October 8th at 7 p.m. The high-flying action will open at home for the 35th season of AHL action at the Cumberland County Civic Center, on Saturday, October 15th when the Manchester Monarchs visit in a 7 p.m. start, featuring a Magnetic Schedule giveaway. All 38 home games will be played at the Civic Center, with 27 weekend games. Saturday Night is Hockey Night in Portland will take place 14 times during the course of the season while the Pirates will also play nine Friday games and four Sunday games.

“This season’s schedule provides a balanced blend of dates and start times in response to what our fans have been telling us over the past few seasons,” said Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek. “Additionally, we have enhanced traditional favorites on the promotional side of our business with exciting new programs and activities to improve the fan experience and begin a new era of Portland Pirates hockey, Phoenix Coyotes style!”

Divisional Rivalries

With the new AHL divisional realignment for the 2011-12 season, the Pirates will continue their traditional rivalries in the Atlantic Division with the Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles Kings), Providence Bruins (Boston Bruins), and Worcester Sharks (San Jose Sharks). The Pirates will battle Manchester and Worcester a total of 12 times each (six on home ice and six on the road), in addition to facing off with Providence a total of 10 times. New to the AHL and Atlantic Division this season, the Newfoundland-based St. John’s IceCaps franchise (Winnipeg Jets) will square off with the Pirates eight times during the regular season.

Collectible Bobblehead Series

Returning to the Cumberland County Civic Center for the 2011-12 season is the popular Pirates Collectible Bobblehead series. On three Friday game dates this season, the Pirates will again be giving away the likenesses of 2011 Hobey Baker Award recipient Andy Miele (January 20th), veteran defenseman Dean Arsene (February 3rd), and goaltender Curtis McElhinney (March 2nd).

Community Support

The Pirates will also continue its commitment to local community causes and initiatives during their home schedule of games. The fourth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game, sponsored by Maine Medical Center, will be played on Saturday, October 22nd against Providence at 7 p.m. Members of the Pirates will be sporting special “Pink” jerseys and socks during the game. Group tickets to this game are being sold at $15/ticket, with $5 from each ticket being donated to breast cancer research. The Pirates have set a goal of raising $10,000 through the sale of these group tickets.

On Saturday, November 12th against Providence at 7 p.m., the Pirates will host a special Salute to Armed Forces Night, where all of the men and women who have served (or are currently serving) as members of the United States Armed Forces will be recognized and offered discounted tickets.

The Pirates will also be hosting three unique “FUNraiser” nights to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (Friday, October 21st against the Adirondack Phantoms), American Heart Association (Saturday, February 4th against the defending Calder Cup champion Binghamton Senators at 7 p.m.) and Autism Awareness (Wednesday, April 11th against the Connecticut Whale at 6:30 p.m.).

For tickets and additional information to any of these charity-driven promotional nights, visit or contact the Pirates office at 207-828-4665 x350.

Matinee Action

The Pirates will host two holiday matinee games (1 p.m. start times) during the season on January 2nd against Connecticut (New Year’s Day matinee) and February 20th against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (President’s Day) giving families, who have the day off from work or school, the opportunity to experience some of the great action and entertainment that Pirates hockey has to offer.

Also included in the schedule is the Pirates third annual School Day Game, presented by Irving Oil, facing off at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 6th against the Manchester Monarchs. Last season, more than 20 Maine schools and nearly 4,000 students took a break from class to experience a fun and educational afternoon with the Pirates. This special educational day features interactive learning activities that promote physical activities and living a healthy lifestyle.

Intermission Excitement

New for 2011-12! The Portland Pirates are proud to introduce new and exciting on-ice promotions throughout the entire home schedule, including the Summit Adventure Hamster Ball Series, Broomball and Bench Buddies program.

Don’t Forget to Mark Your Calendar!

Other featured events and promotions scheduled for the upcoming season include the highly anticipated annual Kid’s New Year’s Celebration on Saturday, December 31st against Worcester at 5:30 p.m. The game, an expected sellout, will mark the 17th season the Pirates have celebrated the bringing in of a New Year featuring New England’s largest indoor fireworks display at the conclusion of the game. All fans are encouraged to celebrate with the Pirates in a special “Green Night” on St. Patrick’s Day (Saturday, March 17th at 7 p.m.) against Bridgeport where Pirates players will be wearing festive green jerseys. During the course of the season, six special Student Achiever Nights will be featured (November 19th, December 17th and 26th, January 14th, February 4th, and March 10th) to recognize students who have performed at a high level in the classroom. Also, save the date for two Post Game Skates with the team, presented by Mercy Hospital and Steele Hill Resorts, on December 18th and February 26th, a Valentine’s Day Date Night game slated for February 15th, Irving Oil Day of Hockey to benefit the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital on February 26th, the Pirates Hall of Fame Induction Night presented by UNUM to be played on March 10th, Time Warner Cable Hat giveaway scheduled for March 11th, and the annual Shirts off Their Backs/Team Awards and Fan Appreciation Night, presented by Creative Awards, on April 13th.

Now is the time to cash in on great savings by purchasing discounted ticket plans and advance tickets for the Pirates 2011-12 season. Ticket packages are available to meet all budgets and schedules. Season Tickets are now on sale with great seats still available for the 2011-2012 season. For the first time ever, Full Season Ticket Holders will receive a commemorative Season Ticket Holder Jersey from the Portland Pirates. To become a new Full Season Ticket Holder, or to upgrade your 20 or 12-game plan to a Full Season Ticket plan, contact the Pirates’ Ticket Department at 207.282.4665 ext. 350.

See What You’ve Been Missing. Portland Pirates Hockey.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coyotes announce new ECHL partner

Phoenix Coyotes Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving announced today that the Coyotes have signed a one-year affiliation agreement with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL.

“We are glad to announce our affiliation with the Gladiators,” Treliving said. “They have consistently proven to be an elite organization within the ECHL and we look forward to having our young prospects continue their development in Gwinnett.”

Gwinnett plays its home games at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. The Gladiators are one of 20 teams that compete in the ECHL and play in the South Division of the Eastern Conference. The franchise was founded in 2003 and the team has made the playoffs in six of its eight seasons, including a trip to the Kelly Cup Finals in 2006.

“I think that there were really two key factors that made this affiliation a natural fit,” Gladiators President Steve Chapman said. “The first is a common commitment to player development. The Phoenix Coyotes organization is committed to developing players through their system.”

“The second factor is simply respect. Brad Treliving and I have known each other for a long time. Ray Edwards (head coach Portland Pirates) was a long-time ECHL player and coach that I have known for years. They both spent considerable time in the ECHL and have a similar background in minor league coaching and administration. They have quality reputations and they have a solid understanding of our place and our importance in this relationship and they value it.  We are looking forward to working with them and the other members and coaches of the Coyotes organization, as well as the Portland Pirates, as we seek to develop quality players and quality men.”

John Wroblewski is in his first season as the head coach with Gwinnett after helping lead the Wheeling Nailers to the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals last season as an assistant coach. Before he joined the Nailers, Wroblewski began his coaching career with the USA Hockey Under-18 National Development Program from 2007 to 2010.

Gwinnett opens the 2011-12 season on Friday, Oct. 14 at the Florida Everblades.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Green Mountain to play two games in Lewiston

The Federal Hockey League's Green Mountain Rock Crushers are the first professional hockey team in Vermont's history. They are hoping they can plant the seeds for a natural rivalry with a potential franchise in Lewiston.

"Playing in Lewiston is kind of nice because we would be the closest rival team," said Rock Crushers GM Andrew Makal. "It could spark some serious buzz for us and for a (potential) new franchise (in Lewiston)."

It was announced last month that the Federal Hockey League, which is in it's second year of existence, would play 5 games in Lewiston.

"The biggest concern for us is that it did cost us a home game," said Makal. "The travel isn’t terrible, but missing out on a game’s worth of home revenue might be a tough pill to swallow down the road."

Still, it was an opportunity for the FHL to test the waters of the Lewiston pro hockey market, which is still stinging from the loss of the Lewiston Maineiacs over the summer.

"This is indeed a 'trial balloon', as the FHL would love to have an arena like (The Colisee) in our league," said Makal. "The question becomes how willing the market is to support minor professional hockey after having a major junior franchise. If done properly, and we are using a Canadian Hockey League model here in Vermont, I think it can be successful, but that depends on who runs it."

Makal is a realist, and feels if fans temper their expectations, the FHL could have a great run.

"As we don’t try to be something we’re not (compete with the level of play of the Pirates or the Maineiacs), I think it will be fun for the local fan base who are losing out on having a hockey tenant this season with the departure of the Q team," said Makal.

The Federal Hockey League consists of 7 teams. Will Lewiston turn out to be the eighth?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Former MAINEiacs Coach JF Houle named Blainville-Boisbriand Armada Head Coach #qmjhl

The Maine Sports Network has learned that former Lewiston MAINEiacs head coach JF Houle has been named head coach of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

The Armada recently moved from Montreal, where they were the Montreal Junior. The MAINEiacs ended the Junior's season, defeating them 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

Check out Justin Pelletier's article at

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