The general manager of the Cumberland County (Maine) Civic Center said that Baltimore Skipjacks owner Tom Ebright is expected to sign a lease on Friday to transfer his American Hockey League franchise to Portland.
"There's still a little bit of negotiating to do," Steve Rosenblatt said yesterday. "Mr. Ebright is planning to come up Friday, and if all the i's are dotted and t's crossed, he will sign the lease."
The board of trustees for the Civic Center would then convene a special meeting to approve the lease, perhaps as early as next Tuesday.
Finally, the AHL's board of governors must approve the relocation. Ebright needs approval from 12 of the league's 16 governors to make the transfer official. League officials expect he will have no trouble getting that approval.
Gordon Anziano, vice president of the AHL, said Ebright has asked to have his franchise transfer placed on the league agenda for its spring meeting in late May.
Last week, Portland officials sweetened the offer to Ebright by agreeing to share parking revenue at a 400-space garage adjacent to the Civic Center. That arrangement could provide Ebright with as much as $25,000.
Meanwhile, Bud Gingher, owner of the Dayton, Ohio, Bombers and chairman of the East Coast Hockey League board of governors, said he doesn't think Ebright "would have too much trouble" getting the necessary two-thirds vote for an expansion team in that league. Ebright has filed an application for an expansion team in the ECHL and has an offer on the table for the Roanoke, Va., Valley franchise.
"It would be an asset to our league," Gingher said.