The Cross Insurance Arena, formerly known as the Cumberland County Civic Center, has been a cherished landmark in Portland since its opening on March 3, 1977. Situated on the former grounds of the E.T. Burrowes Company, this venue has hosted a diverse range of events, from its inaugural concert featuring ZZ Top to prestigious sporting events like the America East Conference men’s basketball tournament and AHL’s Calder Cup.
In October 2010, plans were initiated for significant renovations totaling $27 to $29 million. These renovations aimed to modernize the arena’s facilities, including the addition of premium seating, upgrades to locker rooms, and an expansion of restroom facilities, among other enhancements.
Following the conclusion of the 2011–12 hockey season, renovations began, temporarily closing the arena. After the completion of the Portland Pirates’ 2012–13 season, the arena underwent a second phase of renovations. Amidst this, negotiations between the Portland Pirates and the arena’s trustees over lease terms led to the team relocating their 2013–2014 home schedule to the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston.
However, a breakthrough occurred in February 2014 when a 5-year lease agreement was announced between the arena trustees and the Portland Pirates. Despite this, in May 2016, the Portland Pirates announced their intent to sell the franchise and relocate to Springfield, Massachusetts, leaving a void in the local sports scene.
Responding swiftly to this development, a group of investors led by former Pirates executives W. Godfrey Wood and Brad Church expressed their commitment to bringing an ECHL team to Portland. Consequently, Comcast Spectacor, the arena owners, secured the franchise rights of the Alaska Aces, relocating them to Portland for the 2018–19 season as the new iteration of the Maine Mariners.
With its storied history and ongoing evolution, the Cross Insurance Arena remains a vibrant hub of entertainment and sports within the Portland community.