- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The Portland Pirates will be able to play games in Maine’s largest city next season under a five-year lease agreement announced Tuesday by the team and trustees of the Cumberland County Civic Center.

The Pirates will finish the current season at Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston before returning to the newly renovated civic center in the fall. It’s unclear where games would be played if the team reaches the American Hockey League playoffs this spring, officials said.

The deal ends a months-long dispute that included the club leaving the bargaining table and filing a lawsuit against the civic center over the terms of the lease.

Negotiations restarted after Ron Cain announced in December that he had become majority owner and dropped the lawsuit.

Cain said the club has work to do to mend fences with fans.

“We absolutely know that this was kind of a scorch-the-earth event and we need to do something to earn it back, and to give back to the fans,” Cain told reporters.

Neal Pratt, chairman of the trustees, said he’s excited to get the Pirates back. The civic center is nearing the completion of a $34 million renovation.

The lease calls for the Pirates to get 57.5 percent of revenue from food, drink and alcohol sales on game nights, assuming the Legislature changes state liquor laws to allow the civic center to share liquor revenue. The bill already has been approved by a committee and awaits further action.

If the legislation fails, then the Pirates would get 65 percent of concession revenues and no revenue from alcohol sales, officials said.

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