A strengthening of the relationship between the Portland Pirates and the MHG Ice Center in Saco doesn’t necessarily mean the team is planning a move from the Cumberland County Civic Center.

Ron Cain, co-owner of the Saco facility, last week purchased a stake in the Pirates, who will start their 18th season next month.

Brian Petrovek, the Pirates’ managing owner and CEO, and Cain previously discussed the possibility of building a 4,500-seat arena on undeveloped land adjacent to the MHG Ice Center.

However, Petrovek contends the Pirates still support efforts to renovate the 33-year-old civic center.

“I would not in any way characterize this as a decision that is moving us toward one solution over another,” he said.

“Our primary focus remains on working through the recommendations on the civic center renovation, first and foremost. This is where we started 10 years ago, and this is where we hope to end up in a renovated model.”

Last March, the civic center’s board of trustees approved a two-year lease agreement with the Pirates, who are obligated to play all of their home games at the arena through 2011-12.

Neal Pratt, chairman of the board of trustees, said he has received assurances the Pirates want to continue to call the civic center their home.

“In our communications with the Pirates, which have been pretty recent, it is that they are as much on board as they’ve ever been in regard to our efforts to renovate the civic center,” Pratt said.

“The civic center is going ahead with their efforts as planned, and the Pirates have been part of those discussions, and they’ve indicated they’re going to continue to be a part of those discussions, and that’s the premise we’re operating on.”

Pratt expects a final report to be issued within the next two weeks from Brailsford and Dunleavy, a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm examining the economic viability of renovating the civic center.

Pratt said the report will include several options for renovating the civic center. The board of trustees could decide how to proceed as soon as next month, he added.

The Pirates, meanwhile, continue to look at options other than playing at the civic center.

“We’ve kind of chosen to work through a number of different scenarios on parallel paths,” Petrovek said.

“Once we figure out where the Brailsford and Dunleavy recommendations on the civic center (renovation) end up, that will kind of determine our pace moving forward.”

Cain is the founder of TMSI Logistics, a New Hampshire-based firm that provides supply-chain management services to a host of Fortune 100 companies.

“I own several businesses, and this is one I’m doing for fun, for my enjoyment,” said Cain, who has lived in Kennebunk since 2001. “I’ve played hockey all my life.”

Cain also is owner of the Portland Junior Pirates, a hockey development program based at MHG Center.

Petrovek said he will continue to run the day-to-day operations of the Portland franchise.

“(Cain’s) is a significant investment, but it doesn’t change the way I or (principal owner) Lyman (Bullard) will conduct the business,” Petrovek said. “It will very much remain as it has over the last 10 years.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]