In response to Bookboy007's comment:
"Interesting. Moving the Coyotes to Portland could make sense as well. The Coyotes AHL affiliate is in Portland, so I would imagine that they have a bit of a fanbase there already." -Drewski
First things first - the Pirates are in Portland, Maine, not Portland, Oregon. Portland, Maine doesn't have a deep pocketed investor. Portland, Oregon does, and they also have the Winterhawks - a solid WHL junior franchise that draws in the top 3 for attendance (over 6K) for that league. Neiderreiter and Johansen are recent grads, and Ty Rattie, Tyler Wotherspoon, and Popeye's boy all play there - they're eating the league right now at 41-7-1-2. So in principal, yes, there should be some kind of market there.
But then you look at Phoenix and the fact that the Roadrunners were around in one league or another for the better part of 40 years. When the IHL was a trying to be a real league, Phoenix had about average attendance for the IHL even though the team was always lousy (I believe they had a minor league agreement with the Kings...).
My mistake on the Portland mix up, thanks for catching. I was just brainstorming and threw out Portland (Oregon) as a place that may be able to support an NHL team.
I am actually surprised that Phoenix cannot be more profitable. I understand that its not a hockey climate (literally); hoewver, there is a ton of money in Scottsdale and Tempe is a college town. I am surprised that the market is as bad as it is.