In 1993, the Baltimore Skipjacks relocated to Portland, Maine and became known as the Portland Pirates. The Portland Pirates made their on ice debut in the 1993 - 94 season. They started their tenure in Portland on a high note by taking home the Calder Cup.
Throughout the rest of their time in the AHL, the Portland Pirates were unable to secure another title. However, they were consistently able to qualify for the Calder Cup 15 out of the 22 seasons after their big debut. In 2006 and 2008, the Pirates were able to make it to the Eastern Conference Finals but were knocked out in the Finals by the Hershey Bears and Wilke-Barre/Scranton Penguins in those respective years. During the lifetime of the team, they were affiliated with a number of NHL teams including the Washington Capitals, Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Arizona Coyotes, and finally the Florida Panthers. Those affiliations saw a number of future stars pass through Portland – many more than we can name here – but the list includes Brendan Witt, Richard Zednik, Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, Brooks Laich, Olaf Kolzig, Andrew Brunette, Bryan Dafoe and coach Barry Trotz.
Unfortunately, after 22 successful seasons in Portland the team picked up and moved rather unexpectedly to Springfield, Massachusetts. The affiliation with the Panthers was upheld even after the team was sold and moved to Springfield, Illinois and rebranded as the Springfield Thunderbirds in 2016.