The dust is just settling on the fact that the Utica Comets are about to welcome a new team affiliate into the Adirondack Bank Center in the New Jersey Devils. Obviously, there's a great deal of history there because of the 80s and 90s and most people are very excited. However, there is some reflection required and I suspect hockey fans will be feeling it as this odd COVID-19 season comes to a close.

The fact that hockey will continue in Utica next season with a 10 year deal signed with the Devils is indeed awesome. There's no doubt, we're thankful for that and it's an exciting time. Still, there will come the moment that we realize that the girl who brought us to the dance so to speak, is going away for good. The players who belong to the Canucks, the former Utica Comets, will be exiting Utica for good and that's pretty sad.

The Comets as Vancouver players have spent the last 8 years in Utica and they will always play a very special place in Utica Hockey sentiment. Players like DiPietro, Markstrom, Bachman, Eriksson in the net. Stuart, O'Reilly, Biega, Bancks and so many, many others.

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I remember the first night the Aud was re-opened for AHL hockey in 2013. It was such an amazing night and and incredible time for the city. It was the Vancouver version of the Comets that we all fell in love with, and they won't be forgotten. It was these players on the Vancouver roster that inspired us to break the record for most sell-out games, which was only upended because of the pandemic. I suspect the run will continue as soon as everybody feels safe enough to sit shoulder to shoulder.

The reality is that this is the AHL beast that is minor league sports. Fans fall in love with players and just like that, they're gone. They either move up, or they fall off and move away. Still, these are the players that have spent the last 8 years in Utica that have allowed us to re-fall in love with AHL hockey. We will forever appreciate them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly excited about the next chapter in Comets hockey with the New Jersey Devils. But these last 8 years have been special and despite this exodus, we should and most likely will cherish the time we were able to spend with the players of Vancouver's Utica Comets.

Thanks for the great memories.


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