Professional hockey will once again return to the city of Portland.

In a release sent by the Cross Insurance Arena Board of Trustees on Thursday morning, the announcement was made that Southern Maine would welcome a pro hockey team to the city once more after the Portland Pirates of the AHL left to relocate in Springfield almost a year ago.

Comcast Spectacor, the parent company of Spectra, announced that they will be bringing a franchise from the ECHL to Portland after purchasing the Alaska Aces.  According to the release, the team will begin playing in the 2018-19 season from the Cross Insurance Arena with the franchise still yet-to-be named.

“We are grateful to Comcast Spectacor for the work they are doing at Cross Insurance Arena and for bringing hockey back to Portland,” said Mitch Berkowitz, Board of Trustees, of the Cross Insurance Arena in a written release Thursday. “This is an exciting time for the Board of Trustees, Cumberland County and hockey fans throughout the region.”

The franchise is slated to play 36 home games in the 2018-19 season at the Cross Insurance Arena.  The ECHL is made up of 27 teams in North America and has produced 623 players that have gone on to play in the NHL.  No word has yet been determined if the franchise in Portland will have an affiliation with a specific NHL franchise.

The Boston Bruins are currently aligned with the Atlanta Gladiators in the ECHL.