SACO – After a defender poked loose the puck near center ice, head coach Ray Edwards called out to the forwards who hesitated, “Regroup! Regroup!”

And so began the first day of training camp for Portland’s American Hockey League franchise, as two dozen players, four assistants and Edwards skated together Tuesday morning at the MHG Ice Centre.

“We want to put last year behind us,” Edwards said before taking the ice. “We’re excited about getting going.”

Last season’s Pirates endured a miserable winter, both on and off the ice. Every home game was played in Lewiston, first because of renovations to the Cumberland County Civic Center and then because of a lease dispute with the Civic Center trustees.

On the ice, they finished last among 30 teams in terms of both points and attendance. They won 24 games and lost 52, albeit 13 of those losses came either in overtime or in a shootout.

This year the Pirates have a new owner (Ron Cain), a new general manager (Edwards added the title after Calgary hired Brad Treliving as GM) and a refurbished and renamed home (Cross Insurance Arena) in downtown Portland.

The Pirates will have two weeks of training that include two exhibition games this weekend before opening their AHL slate Oct. 11th in Portland against Providence.

Monday’s workout included two players with University of Maine connections. Mark Anthoine of Lewiston is under contract with Evansville of the ECHL but taking part in Pirates training camp. Former Black Bears goalie Alfie Michaud, who retired after playing last season in Denmark, is a part-time goalie coach with the Pirates. He suited up Monday and tended net because only one goalie on the Pirates training camp roster was healthy and in Saco.

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