Portland Pirates™ Hockey Apparel
For nearly two decades, the Portland Pirates™ were a mainstay in Portland, Maine. Relive those times by ordering retro Portland Pirates apparel from Vintage Ice Hockey! From unique shirts to comfortable hoodies, our collection of Portland Pirates hockey clothing delivers premium quality, thoughtfully designed products crafted by true hockey fans. And after you pick out your favorite Portland Pirates gear, consider checking out the team history of the Pirates below —as well as our other New England minor league hockey collections.
Philadelphia Firebirds Jerseys
Our Seattle Ironmen jerseys are a custom design that is an homage to the sweaters of the original Ironmen, but is also unique in its own right. They have embroidered elements and fully cut and sewn seams for that old school jersey feel.
These jerseys feature embroidered "ironmen" logos sewn onto the chest of the jersey. The Ironmen usually only wore an "S" or the words "Seattle Ironmen" one their chest, so this is a customized chest logo.
The Ironmen did wear a white and dark color scheme with a mid-chest color split that we've captured here, along with a set of five stripes on both the arms and lower chest. All of these features are embroidered at the seams for that old school look and feel; nothing sublimated about it.
Further, we mimicked the two stars on each shoulder that the Ironmen wore to the best of out ability using modern production methods. Two stars are embroidered onto the jersey over each shoulder, including one red star for a pop of color.
Finally, the names and numbers. We do offer a blank option at a lower price point without names and numbers. If you'd like yours customized, we are keeping true to the Ironmen's original design with no numbers on the arms. On the back, we have an option for a stitched name bar with heatpress lettering and large heatpressed numbers across the back. Both the name and back numbers are red, to further add color to the Ironmen and bring what we believe to be their red, white and blue color scheme to the modern age.
How our jersey pre-orders work.
We're a small mom and pop shop and due to lack of well, everything, we are not able to customize our retro hockey jerseys on the fly. Instead, we need to send them out to get made in batches. To be able to offer customization, we open up individual jerseys for pre-orders when we debut them and again later on depending on demand for that particular jersey. So if you are interested in customization or an unusual size such as youth or goalie cuts, pre-order time is the time to buy! You never know when (or if) these jerseys might be available again.
All that said, we do plan to keep stock available continuously for blank jerseys in sizes small through 3XL for most teams. Please note that pre-order jerseys are expected to ship 2-3 months from the date the pre-order period ends and payment in full is required at the time of purchase. In stock blanks will ship on our normal timeframes and usually leave the warehouse within a couple of days. You can read our pre-order policy here.
Portland Pirates™ History
presented by Vintage Ice Hockey
Who were the Portland Pirates?
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 and rebranded as the Springfield Thunderbirds in 2016.
The Spark Fades…
The team’s success on the ice didn’t last in their later seasons. They missed the playoffs four times. They also only went above 36 points a season once in their last four seasons. By 1999, their crowd reached a record low at 2,728. Things also took a strange turn when the team was fined $50,000 and docked 15 points in the standings for circumventing the league salary cap and making payments to NHL and AHL teams for players. The penalties prevented the Tiger Sharks from participating in the playoffs.
The owner also moved the team to Macon, Georgia in June of 2001. The franchise continued as the Macon Whoopees.
While the beginning of the Tiger Sharks’ story is a tale as old as time for the minor league hockey circuit, the franchise is still in existence today. That’s not something we can say for many of the teams we showcase. After a year in Macon, the team moved to Lexington, Kentucky for one year. Their next move was to Utah where they became the Utah Grizzlies. The Grizzlies still take the ice today.
Manon Rheaume played one period in one game during the Tiger Sharks’ first season. Rheaume was a female goaltender who played for a lot of different teams and always helped them to draw in a crowd. Unfortunately, Rheaume gave away four goals during the one period she donned a Tiger Shark jersey.
Michael Ryder was the most noteworthy player to spend time with the Tiger Sharks. He joined the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens. Over the next few years, he had several 30 goal seasons with the Canadiens and Dallas Stars. In 2011, he won a Stanley Cup with the Boston Bruins.
Mark Streit, another NHL Cup Winner, spent some time with the Tiger Sharks as well. His career boasts 96 goals in 786 games.
Todd Reirden followed up his Tiger Sharks stint with a long time career as an NHL coach. He was eventually a cup winner with the Washington Capitals.
A Wild Ride & The Philly Firebird Legacy
While their inaugural season was definitely eventful, the Firebirds sustained their fair share of exciting moments throughout the rest of their time in the NAHL as well. They eventually found their stride and won the Lockhart Cup in 1976, compiling an impressing 45-20 regular season record and defeating the Beauce Jaros in the playoff finals. The following season, 1976-77, was a good one as well although they didn't win any titles.
Unfortunately, as the Firebirds’ luck was at an all-time high, the NAHL couldn’t say the same. The league collapsed before the 1977-78 season could begin. The Firebirds hustled to join the American Hockey League (AHL), but it was also struggling at the time and was also a significant step up in play. The Firebirds weren't terrible, but they didn't finish above .500 in either of their two AHL seasons. They both of their AHL seasons in Philadelphia, but continued to lose money and saw their fan attendance dip. Their last “Hail Mary” attempt at survival was to move to upstate New York and become the Syracuse Firebirds. Unfortunately, that move failed and the Firebird franchise ended in the spring of 1980.
As far as famous Firebirds go, Reggie Lemelin went on to attain great success after goaltending for the Firebirds. He stayed with the Firebirds all 5 years they were in Philadelphia and joined the NHL in 1978. He had a 15 year professional career with the Atlanta/Calgary Flames and Boston Bruins. Interestingly, Lemelin was drafted by the Flyers in 1974, so there's a photo out there of him in a Flyers uniform, but he never played for them. Lemelin would return to Philly to be a goalie coach for the Flyers in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Mike Eruzione, a 1980s Olympic hero, also had a brief stint with the Firebirds. He joined them for their last six games during their final season in Philly.
The infamous hockey film Slap Shot was also heavily influenced by the Firebirds and the rest of the NAHL. It is rumored that Paul Newman attended several Firebird games in order to prepare for his role in the movie. Mark Bousquet, who is 3rd from the right in the second row in the picture above, played an important role in the movie as Andre "Poodle" Lussier of the Syracuse Bulldogs.
While the Firebirds were a quick and tumultuous roller coaster of a hockey franchise, they proved that Philadelphia could support two pro hockey teams. The Philadelphia Phantoms also spent more than a decade as an AHL team in the city during the 1990s and 2000s.
All of our products ship free within the USA!
Note: Pre-order products ship in 2-3 months