Androscoggin Bank Colisée
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|Former names||Central Maine Youth Center (1958–1989)
Central Maine Civic Center (1989–2004)
Lewiston Colisée (2004–2006)
|Owner||Firland Management, LLC (2008–present)|
|Operator||Firland Management, LLC|
|Construction cost||$1 million, with renovations $5 million|
|Maine Nordiques (NAHL) (1973–1977)
Lewiston Maineiacs (QMJHL) (2003–2011)
Portland Pirates (AHL) (2013–2014)
L/A Fighting Spirit (NA3EHL/NA3HL) (2015–present)
The Androscoggin Bank Colisée (formerly Central Maine Civic Center and Lewiston Colisee) is a 4,000 capacity (3,677 seated) multi-purpose arena, in Lewiston, Maine, that opened in 1958. In 1965 it was the location of the World Heavyweight Title fight during which one of the most famous sports photographs of the century was taken of Muhammed Ali standing over Sonny Liston.
It is the former home of the now-defunct Lewiston Maineiacs ice hockey team and was the home arena for the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League for the 2013–2014 season. Currently, it is the home of the L/A Fighting Spirit, another ice hockey team.
The Androscoggin Bank Colisée (formerly the Central Maine Youth Center, and the Central Maine Civic Center) was built in 1958–1959 to replace St. Dominics Regional High School Arena. It was initially constructed and operated by the Catholic parish of SS. Peter and Paul.
The Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association played exhibition games at the Civic Center taking advantage of what was at the time the largest portable floor in the world. The founder of the Celtics, Walter A. Brown, had a financial hand in the building's construction.
Sonny Liston—Muhammed Ali fight
On May 25, 1965, the Youth Center was the venue for the WBC Heavyweight boxing championship rematch between 34-year old former champ Sonny Liston and 23-year-old reigning champion Muhammad Ali. Both Liston and Ali were controversial figures, and many cities refused to host the fight. Boston Garden was to be the original location, but the Boston District Attorney blocked it. The cities of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Houston all declined to host. Finally Lewiston economic development director Sam Michael offered the Youth Center, and promoters agreed. The Dominican Fathers received $2,500 for the event.
Tickets were priced at $25, $50 and a then-high $100 for ringside seats. The lower-priced seats sold quickly, but the higher-priced seats did not. The eventual crowd was the smallest to witness a heavyweight title fight in modern times. However, most of the profits came from closed-circuit television rights across the world, not from in-person ticket sales. Ali beat Liston in 2 minutes, 12 seconds.
It was at this fight that Sports Illustrated photographer Neil Leifer took what Time Magazine has called the "perhaps the greatest sports photo of the century." The photo was taken one minute and 44 seconds into the first round, as Ali stood over Liston's prone body. Ali reportedly taunted Liston in the moment, saying "Get up and fight, sucker!"
Sale and re-sale
In 1989, the Catholic Diocese of Portland sold the Central Maine Civic Center to Roger Theriault and Frank Corrao for $100,000; they were unable to get the original $700,000 asking price.
In 2003, The Lewiston Maineiacs came to the Central Maine Civic Center based on a promise that the arena would be renovated. The City of Lewiston bought the building for $250,000 and carried the $4.7 million debt; it was renamed the Lewiston Colisee. In 2006, Androscoggin Bank, a Lewiston-headquartered bank, purchased naming rights. It has since been known as the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. In 2007, the Lewiston Maineiacs won the Presidents Cup, the QMJHL league championship.
The Federal Hockey League held five home games at the arena in 2011–12.
Due to renovations to the Cumberland County Civic Center, the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League were scheduled to play six home games at the Colisee during the 2012–13 AHL season until the Civic Center reopened. However, the Pirates' lease agreement with Civic Center trustees broke apart in a dispute over food sales. The Pirates subsequently played all but one game of their entire 2013–2014 home schedule at the Colisée. The dispute was finally resolved in 2014, allowing the Pirates to return to Cross Insurance Arena for the 2014-15 AHL season.
On December 16, 2014, it was announced the New Hampshire Fighting Spirit from the North American 3 Eastern Hockey League would relocate to Lewiston and play home games at the Colisee as the L/A Fighting Spirit (with the L/A standing for Lewiston-Auburn) beginning with the 2015–16 season. As of 2016, the Fighting Spirit play in the North American 3 Hockey League.
The Colisee is also used for concerts, conventions and trade shows. There is 17,000 square feet (1600 m²) of exhibit space. For conventions, the Colisee can accommodate up to 4,800 patrons.
- [dead link]
- Emmert, Mark (24 May 2015). "The Maine moment that made Muhammad Ali". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- TIME staff (3 June 2016). "Behind the Greatest Photo of Muhammad Ali Ever Taken". Time Magazine. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
- Hall, Jessica (August 31, 2013). "Civic Center, Pirates in standoff over concessions". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- Lowe, Mike (September 26, 2013). "Portland Pirates leave Cumberland County Civic Center". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
- "Fighting Spirit to relocate to Lewiston, Maine". NA3EHL. December 16, 2014.