Cross Arena, the former home of the AHL’s Portland Pirates, located in Downtown Portland, Maine, will once again be home to professional hockey.
Similar to the Kings’ recent relocation of their AHL affiliate (Monarchs) from Manchester, NH to Ontario, CA (Reign), the new Portland team will drop a rung from the AHL to the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL).
Early reports indicate that the team will be affiliated with the Flyers and will be run by former NHLer Danny Briere.
The team will start play in the 2018-2019 season in the ECHL Premier AA Hockey League. The team is being transferred from their current home in Alaska.
While considered a tier below the AHL, the ECHL has produced over 600 current and former NHL players during the league’s existence and should showcase future NHLers.
Time will tell if the team will be financially successful, with numerous ECHL teams struggling to maintain financial flexibility.
For more information on the ECHL, please see this overview.
(Editor’s note: Portland is a really cool city. If you live in the greater Boston/New England area, it’s well worth a trip up there. Breweries, good food...can’t lose.)