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NHL lockout means talent upgrade for AHL

6:25 PM, Sep 24, 2012   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The Portland Pirates are celebrating their 20th anniversary this season, but the start of it is anything but typical for coach Ray Edwards and his players.

For one thing they won't be in the Civic Center for several weeks, instead holding training camp and practices beginning Saturday at the Portland Ice Arena, while their regular home is being renovated.

More importantly for the fans will be the quality of players hitting the ice. That's because, at least for now, the NHL has locked out it's players and has canceled pre-season games. If the lockout continues The AHL could be the only game in town for hockey fans.

"A lot more attention will be focused on these rinks, on Portland Pirates hockey and on the rest of the American Hockey League", said Jeff Mannix, voice of the Pirates.

Included in this year's line-up will be some proven NHL talent and some of the Phoenix Coyotes top prospects.

"I think that will be exciting for our fans here to see a player like Oliver Ekman-Larsen who played the full year in the NHL last year and is a top young player in the NHL and I think around the league teams coming here you're going to see a lot of good young stars", said Pirates Coach Ray Edwards.

The Pirates first home game is October 19th in Lewiston. The first game at the Civic Center will be on November 2nd.

NEWS CENTER

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