September 28, 2013

An ice hockey haven sees Portland's loss as its gain

In Lewiston, ardent fans scoop up season tickets while business owners predict a welcome lift.

By Kelley Bouchard kbouchard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Surrounded by jerseys and other hockey paraphernalia, Tim Blue, manager for Pedro O'Hara's in Lewiston, talks Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 about his excitement and the potential business increase with the Pirates playing their full season in Lewiston.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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The exterior of Androscoggin Bank Colisse on Friday, Sept. 27, 2013.

Gordon Chibroski

Additional Photos Below

No U.S. city has deeper roots in hockey culture than Lewiston, a former mill town that was flooded with French-Canadian immigrants in the late 1800s.

Many had played the sport in Quebec and New Brunswick, including the Catholic priests and brothers who were powerful leaders in the fast-growing Franco-American community.

They formed L'Association Saint-Dominique, a young men's group that organized the first recorded hockey game in the city in 1916, according to a history of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

After the association won the first Maine Hockey Championship in 1922, local businesses pitched in to build the city's first indoor arena next to the association's clubhouse on Bartlett Street. The arena was dismantled during World War II and moved to the South Portland Shipyard to be used as an assembly building.

In 1941, the association was dissolved and the clubhouse became St. Dominic High School. The Catholic community raised money to build the first arena for the high school on Birch Street in 1950. That arena burned in 1956 and was replaced with the Central Maine Youth Center in 1959.

Later, the building was the Central Maine Civic Center, before the Roman Catholic Diocese sold it in 1989. The city renovated the center several years ago, adding a new facade and changing the name to the Colisee.

Through the years, the arena has hosted thousands of high school, youth league, adult league and professional hockey games and other events. Hockey teams from either St. Dom's or Lewiston high schools have won 44 of 86 state Class A championships, according to the Maine Coaches Association.

Mike Turcotte, a Lewiston native who lives in Wales, said that hockey heritage will serve the Portland Pirates well as they test the ice in another community. Turcotte, for one, is ready to see them rattle the glass at the Colisee.

"I love the sport," Turcotte said. "Give blood. Play hockey." 

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

kbouchard@pressherald.com

Twitter: @KelleyBouchard

 

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Additional Photos

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Mike Turcotte of Wales discusses his excitement Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 of the Pirates playing a full season at the Colisee in Lewiston

Gordon Chibroski

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Christian Ouellette of Lewiston is the account executive for Pirates ticket sales and hopes the excitement of the whole season being played in Lewiston – as well as lower ticket prices for season tickes – will help the Colisee sell out on a nightly basis.

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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Randy Cyr of Lisbon Falls is so excited about the Pirates playing a full season at the Colisee in Lewiston that he immediately bought four season tickets.

Gordon Chibroski



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