PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Officials with the Portland Pirates say a new team bearing the same name will start playing in the ECHL in 2017.

The Pirates announced earlier this month that the team would leave Portland after 23 seasons. The team plans to play in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the 2016-17 season.

WCSH-TV (http://on.wcsh6.com/27dBWMD ) reports former Pirates owner Godfrey Wood and former player and team official Brad Church will bring the new team to Portland.

The ECHL is one tier below the AHL in hockey players' progression to the National Hockey League. The current champions are the Allen Americans, who play in Allen, Texas.

Springfield wants a new team to fill the void expected to be left by another moving AHL franchise, the Springfield Falcons. That team intends to move to Tucson, Arizona.