Ladies and gentlemen, without an NHL season to look forward to (sorry to pour salt into an open wound), there leaves us no choice but to gear up for what could be the most interesting and exciting AHL season of time. You see, with there being no NHL, this leaves the door open for talented players with NHL experience to play for their minor league affiliate. (I know, no brainer right) However, with players that are growing accustomed to playing hockey at an NHL level coming down and playing for the AHL, the atmosphere is bound to change. We can expect some harder hitting and perhaps a few more fancy goals and stick work, the possibilities are really endless. With players like Andy Miele (Phoenix Coyotes) and Jordan Caron (Boston Bruins) being sent down, you can only expect great things to come.
Luckily for those residing in Maine, we’ve got our own special event to look forward to this season. Despite the lockout there is still reason to celebrate. You see, this season the Portland Pirates are celebrating their twentieth season. Generally when any team gears up for a season it is exciting, but to be around for twenty years, that is an accomplishment! As if that isn’t reason enough to be excited, there are also a few new happenings. For instance, the Pirates are entering this season with a new head coach, Ray Edwards. While this may be his first season behind the Portland bench, he is no stranger to the AHL having spent the past two seasons with the San Antonio Rampage providing them with a 70-56-7-9 record. Prior to that he also coached in the CHL and ECHL for seven seasons. Last season his power play was ranked at the top with the Hershey bears at 20.7% with a home power-play percentage of 25.6%, an AHL best and franchise records.
If that doesn’t get you excited for some Pirates hockey, how about the fact that they will be playing six of their games at the Lewiston arena this season? Nothing like a change of venue for a few games to make it interesting. You can even purchase the Baxter Brewing Company 6-Pack deal, giving you discounted prices on tickets for all six games. Not a bad deal.
Granted Pirates hockey isn’t going to be the same as watching the Coyotes play, but the fact of the matter remains, not all hockey is lost. It’s time we get reconnected with our affiliated farm team. After all, this is where it all begins and players begin to make a name for themselves. Here is where it all begins, only 30 more days people…but who’s counting?