The final Portland Pirates game of a most unusual American Hockey League season will be played neither in Lewiston nor Portland but at the MHG Ice Centre in Saco, the team’s practice facility. The game is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m.
The 61st annual Kora Shrine Circus will present two shows Friday and three on Saturday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
The Pirates already had moved other games in order to accommodate the circus, but as late as Monday were planning to wrap up their regular season on Saturday night in Lewiston.
Instead, anyone with tickets to Saturday’s game against St. John’s can receive a full refund at their point of purchase. Season ticket holders can receive a refund or a credit to the 2014-15 season by calling the Pirates office at 828-4665.
Seating in Saco will limit the crowd to 400. The Pirates will charge $10 a seat, but no tickets will be sold the day of the game. The team will donate all ticket proceeds to the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.
“We’d like to thank both the American Hockey League and St. John’s for being so accommodating with this unexpected change in venue,” said Brad Church, the team’s chief operating officer, in a prepared statement. “While we are disappointed that our time in Lewiston will be cut short, we are glad that we can use this opportunity to give to a great cause in the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.”
The decision to move the game from Lewiston to Saco was made late Tuesday morning.
The conflict between the circus and the Pirates, who have yet to win in eight April games and are last in the AHL in both points and attendance, arose after lease negotiations broke down between the team and trustees of the Cumberland County Civic Center. The Pirates chose to play their entire home season in Lewiston instead of returning to Portland in mid-to-late January, following a Civic Center refurbishment.
In other Pirates news, the team’s NHL parent club, the Phoenix Coyotes, sent four players to Maine for Wednesday’s game in Lewiston against Albany: defensemen Connor Murphy and Brandon Gormley, goaltender Mark Visentin and forward Tyler Gaudet.
The Coyotes, soon to be renamed the Arizona Coyotes, lost seven of their final eight games to miss the playoffs by two points.
Murphy, Gormley and Visentin all played for the Pirates earlier this season. Gaudet, who recently turned 21, spent this season with Sault St. Marie of the Ontario Hockey League.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or: