The Sabres aren't sure exactly where their minor-leaguers will be playing after this season, but they are sure it will be with the same ownership group.
The owners of the Portland Pirates announced today they have signed a "long-term agreement" to continue their affiliation with the Sabres. The Sabres and Pirates are in the second season of a three-year deal that contained options for an additional two seasons. It is believed this new agreement, the length of which was not disclosed, will kick in next year.
"Lyman [Bullard, the Pirates' chairman/governor] and I are thrilled to share this great news with our fans, our sponsors and the entire community, who have experienced firsthand over the past two seasons the quality and exciting style of Buffalo Sabres hockey at the AHL level at the Cumberland County Civic Center," Pirates Managing Owner/CEO Brian Petrovek said in a statement. "Greater Portland has embraced a group of world-class players, coaches and team staff who have been and continue to be outstanding professionals and people both on and off the ice.
"We’re looking forward to our future together with high hopes and expectations as we continue to do our part to help develop future Buffalo Sabres and compete for Calder Cup Championships."
The Pirates' lease with the civic center expires following the season, and the sides are negotiating an extension. The Pirates also have investigated a move to Albany in case a deal can't be reached with Portland. New York's capital is losing its AHL team to Charlotte, N.C., and is in need of a replacement franchise.
The Sabres' prospects would be aligned with Petrovek and Bullard no matter which city they decide on.