The Portland Pirates of 1993-94 were a special group. And not just because they won the franchise’s only Calder Cup title.
“The biggest thing is we enjoyed each other,” said former center Kevin Kaminski. “We did a lot of team bonding and enjoyed coming to the rink every day, with the attitude we were going to win.”
Now they’re getting back together. Many members of that team will return to Portland this weekend for a reunion. It will include a meet-and-greet with season-ticket holders Friday and a charity golf tournament Saturday.
Among the players expected to attend are goalies Olaf Kolzig (the Calder Cup MVP) and Mike Parson, forwards Kaminski, Kerry Clark, Chris Jensen, Jeff Nelson, Kent Hulst, Darren McAusland, Randy Pearce and Chris Longo, and defensemen Todd Nelson and Jason Woolley.
Hulst, Kaminski and McAusland got the reunion rolling. Kaminski even set up a Facebook page, posting photos.
“For me, that year was special,” said Kaminski, now a minor league hockey coach. “Portland has a special place in my heart. I lived there for 14 years.”
He said the reunion was “for the guys, for the community and to show our appreciation. The fans still talk about that year. I think this is to show our appreciation.”
McAusland, a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, realtor for 11 years, said the reunion will bring back memories.
“I haven’t been back to Maine since 2000,” he said. “I’m excited to see the city and how it’s changed, and to see my old teammates. That was really a special group of guys. I just want to take it all in, have a good time.”
Hulst, the Portland Junior Pirates premier team coach, said the Pirates hope the golf tournament will become an annual event. This year’s beneficiary is Camp Sunshine, a Casco-based nonprofit that assists families with children who have life-threatening illnesses.
“We hope this gets the ball rolling,” said Hulst. “We asked everyone what they wanted to do and everyone said a charity golf tournament. That would give back to the area where so many of us were fortunate to play.
“We’re going to try to get guys from the other teams, from the Capitals guys to the Anaheim guys to the Buffalo guys.”