I don't get the "there should be ice" argument. What hockey team would go in there that would draw enough fans to even turn the lights on? The Bangor area has the D-I college team. Portland has the pro team. Lewiston has had a revolving door of junior hockey. Frankly, of the three, none are lighting the world on fire with attendance. Does the state really need a fourth hockey option? And "Disney on Ice" and those types of shows bring their ice in with them.
I don't think the plan or hope was to ever have an "anchor tenant." During the deliberations, Maine basketball was not really mentioned as a permanent tenant. Heck, the arena schedules over Maine's preferred dates all the time. Concerts and conventions were always the plan.
Will the arena/convention center ever make money itself? Probably not, but that isn't the point of city or state owned assets. If it was a solid gold money-maker, some private company would have built it. The area needed a convention center, and local shops and restaurants and hotels benefit from that. The area needed to replace the Auditorium before it fell on someone's head, and a 100,000+ sized metro area can't not have a municipal arena, so we have a municipal arena. It cost what it cost. 15-20 times a year Cyndi Lauper or Monster Trucks or Bull Riding swings through and people eat at the Sea Dog. High school basketball has a venue north of Augusta for regional tournaments. The Bangor area doesn't need it's 403rd swing and miss at professional sports. The QMJHL or whoever doesn't need to tilt at another junior hockey windmill in the state of Maine. This is life in America's hinterland.