An Open Letter to the Buffalo Sabres: Keep the Pirates in Portland
Dear Buffalo Sabres and Portland Pirates executives,
There are a few reasons why the Pirates should stay in Portland:
1. Maine breathes hockey
Portland has had a team since 1977, when the Maine Mariners joined the American Hockey League, and stayed until 1992 before their parent team, the Boston Bruins, moved the team to Providence, Rhode Island.
Portland was awarded the Baltimore Skipjacks in return, and renamed them the Portland Pirates. They won the 1994 Calder Cup.
However, Albany's old AHL team, the Albany River Rats (affiliates of the Carolina Hurricanes) are moving to Charlotte, North Carolina to be closer to their affiliates.
2. Portland will fight to get the Pirates back
The Facebook group "Keep the Pirates in Portland" already has over 1,000 members, and was created less than a week ago (you can find it here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/KEEP-THE-PIRATES-IN-PORTLAND-ARRRRGHHH/315359767157?ref=ts).
People in the group are picketing. Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe (both Republican) have each released statements regarding the "Pirates Situation."
Snowe said "The [Pirates] are a tremendous economic asset to the city of Portland and part of the fabric of the greater Portland area. It is vital that their home remains in Maine."
You see, hockey is the most popular sport in Maine. Our QMJHL (Quebec Major-Junior Hockey League) team, the Lewiston MAINEiacs (the only QMJHL team located outside of Canada), is rumored to be moving out of Lewiston and into Ontario. It seems as though the deal is all but finalized.
Losing the MAINEiacs hurts, but losing the Pirates would put a dagger in the hearts of most southern Mainers.
Hockey is the fabric of Maine. The University of Maine Black Bears hockey team has one two national championships in the last fifteen years, after the hockey program was founded in the late 1970s. The Pirates and the Black Bears rule the sports headlines in Maine.
So you see, if the Pirates do move out of Portland, expect an all-out war, courtesy of the State of Maine.
You've been warned.
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