Androscoggin Bank Colisée
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190 Birch St. Lewiston ME 04240
The Androscoggin Bank Colisée (formerly the Central Maine Youth Center, and the Lewiston Civic Center) was built in 1958-1959 to replace St. Dominics Regional High.
On May 25, 1965, world heavyweight boxing champ Muhammed Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) fought his rematch against Sonny Liston. The fight remains to this day one of the most controversial in boxing history as Ali knocked Liston out with what is always referred to as "the phantom punch". The fight produced arguably the most famous photograph in fight history with the snapshot image of a brash Ali taunting his rival Liston to get off the mat. Many in the sparse crowd had not even settled into their seats when the fight was stopped.
The Maine Nordiques were the primary tenant at the Civic Center from 1973 to 1977. The colorful team with a cast of characters right out of the movie Slap Shot were members of the old North American Hockey League. The Quebec Nordiques, then a member of the World Hockey Association were the parent team of the Maine Nordiques. Players such as Alan Globensky, Paul Larose and Richard Brodeur gained a strong local following with hockey fans in the Lewiston/Auburn area. In the end, it was the demise of the league itself that cut the Nordique era short.
The Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association featuring Coach Red Aurbach and standout Bob Cousy, played exhibition games at the Civic Center taking advantage of what was at the time the largest portable floor in the world. The founder of the Celtics, Walter Brown was a hockey fan first and foremost and actually had a financial hand in the building’s construction.
In 1989, the Portland Diocese sold the Central Maine Civic Center to Roger Theriault and Frank Corrao for $100,000; they were unable to get the original $700,000 asking price.
In 2003, The Lewiston Maineiacs came to the Central Maine Civic Center based on a promise that the arena would be renovated. The City of Lewiston bought the building for $250,000 and carried the $4.7 million debt, it was renamed the Lewiston Colisee. In 2006, Androscoggin Bank, a Lewiston-headquartered bank with deep roots in the Lewiston-Auburn community, continued to support the renovation and maintenance of the facility by purchasing naming rights. It has since been known as the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Also in 2006, the Lewiston Maineiacs won the Presidents Cup for the first time.
The longest continuous tenants of the Civic Center have been playing hockey on Birch Street since the building’s inception in 1958. The strong showing of Lewiston and St. Dom's high schools has resulted in several state and New England high school championships through the years. The high school tournaments to this day continue to bring in a raucous audience of rabid fans and serve as a reminder of why the Civic Center was built in the first place.
The Federal Hockey League will hold five home games at the arena in 2011-12.
In 2007, the Sun Journal published concerns about the Lewiston Colisee — its high debt with renovations still needed; and its small capacity, with seating for only 3,500 spectators, which limits the Colisee's utility. In 2008, Jim Cain of Firland Management purchased the ABC from the city.
The Colisee is also used for concerts, conventions and trade shows. There is 17,000 square feet (1600 m²) of exhibit space. For conventions, the Colisee can accommodate up to 4,800 patrons.