Androscoggin Bank Colisée
|Former names||Central Maine Youth Center (1958–1989)
Central Maine Civic Center (1989–2004)
|Owner||Firland Management, LLC (2008–present)|
|Operator||Firland Management, LLC|
|Construction cost||$1 million, with renovations $5 million|
|Lewiston-Auburn Fighting Spirit (NA3EHL) (2015–present)
Portland Pirates (AHL) (2013–2014)
Lewiston Maineiacs (QMJHL) (2003–2011)
Lewiston High School (PTL) (1989–2004)
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 Maine Nordiques were the primary tenant at the Civic Center from 1973 to 1977. The Nordiques were members of the old North American Hockey League. The Quebec Nordiques, then a member of the World Hockey Association, were the parent team of the Maine Nordiques. Players such as Alan Globensky, Paul Larose and Richard Brodeur gained a strong local following with hockey fans in the Lewiston/Auburn area. In the end, it was the demise of the league itself that cut the Nordique era short.
The Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association featuring Coach Red Aurbach and standout Bob Cousy, 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 Brown was a hockey fan first and foremost and actually had a financial hand in the building’s construction.
It was the venue for the WBC Heavyweight Boxing Championship rematch between former champ Sonny Liston and reigning champion Muhammad Ali. On May 25, 1965, Ali (formerly known as Cassius Clay) beat Liston in under three minutes. The ending of fight remains one of the most controversial in boxing history. Midway through the first round, Liston threw a left jab and Ali went over it with a fast right, knocking the former champion down. Liston went down on his back. He rolled over, got to his right knee and then fell on his back again. Many in attendance did not see Ali deliver the punch. The fight quickly descended into chaos. Referee Jersey Joe Walcott, a former World Heavyweight Champion himself, had a hard time getting Ali to go to a neutral corner. Ali initially stood over his fallen opponent, gesturing and yelling at him, "Get up and fight, sucker!" The moment was captured by ringside photographer Neil Leifer in what became one of the most iconic images in sport, chosen as the cover of the Sports Illustrated special issue, "The Century's Greatest Sports Photos." Ali then began prancing around the ring with his arms raised in victory.
In 1989, the Portland Diocese 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 with deep roots in the Lewiston-Auburn community, continued to support the renovation and maintenance of the facility by purchasing naming rights. It has since been known as the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. In 2007, the Lewiston Maineiacs won the Presidents Cup for the first time.
The longest continuous tenants of the Civic Center have been playing hockey on Birch Street since the building’s inception in 1958. The strong showing of Lewiston and St. Dom's high schools has resulted in several state and New England high school championships through the years. The high school tournaments to this day continue to bring in a raucous audience of rabid fans and serve as a reminder of why the Civic Center was built in the first place.
The Federal Hockey League held five home games at the arena in 2011–12.
Due to renovations to the Cross Insurance Arena, the Portland Pirates were scheduled to play six home games at the Colisee during the 2012–13 AHL season with the Cross Insurance Arena to reopen in time for the remaining 34 games of the Pirates' schedule. However, the Pirates began looking to play their entire home schedule at the Colisée after their lease agreement with Cross Insurance Arena trustees broke apart in a dispute over food sales, where arena trustees stated they would look for new tenants for dates previously given to the Pirates. They further stated that financially the arena was better off without them, as they only broke even on the Pirates' presence and their expenses would be less without them.
The Pirates announced on September 26, 2013 that they would indeed play their entire 2013–2014 home schedule at the Colisée. The dates for four games had to be changed from the original schedule. A spokesman for the AHL said that the Pirates had the rights to the Portland market and could play anywhere within a 50 mile radius of the city, and Lewiston is just inside that radius. The Phoenix Coyotes said they were prepared to move forward despite having hoped differences with the Cross Insurance Arena would be resolved. The dispute was finally resolved in 2014, allowing the Pirates to return to Cross Insurance Arena for the 2014-15 AHL season.
In 2007, the Sun Journal published concerns about the Lewiston Colisee — its high debt with renovations still needed; and its small capacity, with seating for only 3,500 spectators, which limits the Colisee's utility. In 2008, Jim Cain of Firland Management purchased the ABC from the city.
Announced on September 26, 2013, the Portland Pirates would play all of their thirty-eight home games at the Colisee after a legal dispute between the Portland Pirates and the Cross Insurance Arena. The Pirates would return to Cross Insurance Arena as a settlement of their dispute in October 2014.
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 Lewiston-Auburn Fighting Spirit beginning in the 2015–16 season.
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]
- 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.