A worker hangs the Phoenix Coyotes banner from the Civic Center's rafters.
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The management team from the Phoenix Coyotes, the new NHL parent club of the Portland Pirates, made the trip to Maine to meet with the media and fans.
"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to be here," stated new Pirates head coach Ray Edwards. "I know the players will be. I think we'll put an exciting, passionate, hard-working group on the ice for you all."
"What really attracts me to Portland is knowing the external pressure that you have to perform here," explained Coyotes General Manager Don Maloney. "If you are going to have a bad night, people are going to let you know, and that is probably the way it should be."
In June, the Buffalo Sabers announced their intentions to move their AHL team closer to home to Rochester, New York. The move left Portland looking for a new affiliate to call the Cumberland County Civic Center home. After meeting with several teams, Pirates owner Brian Petrovek and the Coyotes agreed to a five year deal.
Maloney said he has wanted to move the team's development operations east to take advantage of the favorable travel between AHL clubs and the passionate fans, among other reasons.
"We think the best development is in a winning environment," said Maloney. "We want a very, very strong, winning franchise on the ice. We put our best young players here. We think it is a great relationship and a great partner. "The commute from here to Phoenix is a little long, but we were willing to sacrifice that to be in the right development situation."