June 1, 2011

QMJHL to dissolve Lewiston Maineiacs franchise

QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau announced Tuesday that the Lewiston Maineiacs franchise will be bought out by the league and dissolved.

The decision was made Tuesday afternoon following a vote by league members. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Courteau said the franchise will be dissolved and the players will be dispersed to other teams through a special draft.

“I am disappointed for the fans in Lewiston,” Courteau said in a news release. “The Maineiacs enjoyed some very good moments, including a President Cup championship in 2007. I know that Mark Just and his ownership group did all that they could to save the franchise, but the situation was no longer viable.”

The Maineiacs were the only U.S. franchise in the QMJHL after relocating from Sherbrooke, Quebec, after the 2002-03 season.

According to the Lewiston Sun-Journal, the league also approved Tuesday an expansion bid from a group out of Sherbrooke — led by former NHL goaltender Jocelyn Thibeault — to begin operating a team out of that city for the 2012-13 season.