PORTLAND — The Portland Pirates will play “a handful” of games in Lewiston next season, the owner of the American Hockey League team says.

Brian Petrovek said Monday that the team will play home games outside Portland because of the upcoming renovation of the Pirates’ home arena, the Cumberland County Civic Center, and an effort to expand the fan base.

Petrovek said dates for games at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston have not been set and the number of games will “hopefully not exceed a handful.”

The civic center’s building committee is expected to determine the schedule for the $33 million renovation soon. Although the committee could decide to shut down the arena for an extended period, much of the renovation is expected to be done around Pirates’ games and other events.

After a concert by James Taylor in late June, the civic center doesn’t have any events scheduled until the Pirates return to the ice in the fall, which would give contractors about three to four months, uninterrupted, to start the renovation.

Petrovek said the dates for the team to play in Lewiston will be determined after the building committee comes up with a work schedule and the American Hockey League starts to nail down its 2012-13 schedule, in late spring or early summer.

The owner of the Colisee said the games in Lewiston will appeal to the city’s hockey fans, who had a junior hockey league team to root for until the Lewiston Maineiacs ceased operations last year.

Jim Cain, owner of the Colisee, called the plan for Pirates games in Lewiston “the right thing for everyone.”

He noted that the Pirates played a few games at the arena in Lewiston in 2009 and 2010, and drew about 3,000 fans. The Colisee seats about 3,700 for hockey, he said.

Petrovek said playing some games in Lewiston won’t diminish the team’s ties to Portland.

The renovation is expected to include new premium seating and some separate facilities for Pirates season-ticket holders, upgraded concession and ticket areas, improved backstage facilities and a larger loading dock for concerts and other touring shows.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: [email protected]