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AHL team owner from Portland tours Glens Falls

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GLENS FALLS -- One of the owners of the Portland Pirates visited Glens Falls recently as part of the team’s search for possible relocation sites, said Glens Falls Mayor John “Jack” Diamond.

Diamond said a “member of the ownership group” visited Glens Falls on his way to an Oct. 26 American Hockey League game in Albany between the Pirates and the Albany Devils.

Diamond said he and Edward Bartholomew, president of Warren County Economic Development Corp., showed the team official around the Civic Center and the Glens Falls Recreation Center rink on Fire Road, and toured the downtown business district.

Diamond said the visit was part of the city’s overall effort to recruit a new AHL tenant for the Glens Falls Civic Center.

The Adirondack Phantoms, which now make the Civic Center home ice, plan to relocate next season to a new arena being built in Allentown, Pa.

The Pirates are playing at Lewiston, Maine, this season, because of a contract dispute with the Cumberland County Civic Center, where the team previously played.

A few months ago, Diamond said he did not think Glens Falls could compete with the Cumberland County arena, which is finishing up a $34 million renovation project.

But on Thursday, Diamond confirmed the team is looking at Glens Falls.

“We’re open for business, and the American Hockey League knows that our tenant is transitioning to Allentown,” he said in an interview at City Hall.

Diamond said city officials are now waiting to hear back from the owners.

In October, Brian Petrovek, the Pirates’ managing owner, told The Post-Star the team was considering all of its options and that Glens Falls was definitely one of those options. He said that short of a contract issue, he could see no deal-breakers in Glens Falls.

The Pirates have been also looking into is building a new arena in Saco, Maine, Ron Cain, owner of the Maine Hockey Group and a part-owner of the Pirates, told The Portland Press Herald. Cain also said the team’s “number one option” is staying in Portland.

The Pirates could not be reached for comment after the team official’s recent trip to Glens Falls.

No additional meetings or conversations are scheduled, at this point.

“We’re a phone call away,” he said.

Diamond and Bartholomew have been leading the city’s hockey recruitment effort.

In September, they made a presentation at an AHL Board of Governors meeting in Springfield, Mass.

Also in September, the Capital Regional Economic Development Council designated a city request for $675,00 in funding for arena improvements as “a priority project” and recommended the state approve it.

The funding requested is part of a $2.825 million package city officials feel is necessary to recruit a new team.

Diamond would not say on Thursday if he has spoken with representatives of any other AHL teams besides the Pirates.

“I can’t really disclose that right now,” he said.

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