PORTLAND – Neither of Portland’s professional sports teams played as scheduled Sunday night.
The NBA D-League basketball game scheduled at the Portland Expo between the Maine Red Claws and the Springfield Armor was postponed until Tuesday night at 8 p.m. because the visitors were unable to fly out of Indiana after a game with Fort Wayne Saturday night.
Tickets for Sunday’s game will be honored Tuesday night.
The Portland Pirates were scheduled to play an AHL hockey game in Worcester, Mass., Sunday night, but remained in Maine because of an approaching snowstorm.
Red Claws Coach Austin Ainge gave his players the day off after practicing on Christmas Day.
Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen learned of the postponement while his team was on the Civic Center ice for a planned 20-minute skate before boarding a bus to Worcester. Instead of informing his players immediately, he decided to have a little fun.
“They’d had five days off for the Christmas break, so I kept adding one more drill,” Dineen said.
“Then I said we’re going to do one more drill, then one more drill.”
Dineen said he could see his players start to roll their eyes and he was pretty sure he could read their thoughts.
“They going, ‘This guy’s kind of lost his mind over the Christmas holiday. I don’t know what’s going on with him,’ ” Dineen said. “So it was a pretty good chuckle for me.
“They were about 45 minutes in before I let them in on the secret. It was my own little Christmas present to them, to add an extra hour to our pre-game skate.”
The game in Worcester has been rescheduled for Jan. 18th. The Pirates next play at home Tuesday night, same night as the Red Claws.
“It’s really unique to have a game canceled when the snow hasn’t come yet, but you know it’s coming,” Dineen said Sunday afternoon. “You know the whole East Coast is going to get slammed here. And with the amount of Christmas traffic out there, I’m comfortable with the decision we’re making to keep our players safe and off the roads.”
Ainge said the Red Claws would practice today and hold a pre-game shoot-around Tuesday not in the Expo, which is hosting a holiday high school tournament this week, but at Southern Maine Community College.
Springfield is scheduled to arrive by plane in Portland tonight.
“I know it’s a big inconvenience for the fans and a lot of other people,” Ainge said, “but for us on the team, it’s not a big adjustment.”
Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: