PORTLAND – The Cross Insurance Arena in Portland will see the return of professional hockey when the ECHL’s Maine Mariners debut next fall, but it turns out they won’t be the lone tenants. That’s because a professional football team will be joining them, perhaps even making their debut beforehand.
The National Arena League added three expansion teams Wednesday, one of which will debut in Portland. The league is hoping to get the yet-to-be-named squad up and running for April of 2018, though it could debut the following year. Two other teams will also debut, one located in Worcester, Massachusetts and the other in Greensboro, North Carolina. This will bring the total amount of teams to seven, one more than the long-existing Arena Football League.
The NAL was founded in 2016, and began play last year.
“It’s almost like being at a rock concert and being at a football game at the same time,” arena general manager Matt Herpich said Wednesday. “Footballs flying into the stands, players bumping into the boards, stuff like that. High energy.”
More details are expected to be announced at a press conference within the month.