Portland is such a great town, especially for the atmosphere that it can provide to young prospects trying to make it to the NHL. Logistically, in terms of finances and geography, it is better that the Caps' AHL affiliate be closer to DC.
The rest of this is personal reflection:
However, on a personal note, if the Pirates had not been affiliated with the Caps, I never would have "discovered" Maine itself and fallen in love with the state. One of those places that I think is one of most beautiful in the world is at the south entrance to Baxter State Park. Since I made my first Pirates' game in 1997, I've been back to Maine at least twice a year, and even went to school at UMaine in Orono for a period of time. Also hoping to either live there some day, or at least find a summer home around Baxter or Bar Harbor. Very sad to hear about the loss of the affiliation, but at least there will still be hockey in Portland. Won't stop me from going there every spring and fall