Tag Archives: Comets

Utica COMETS are in Serious Practice Sessions


The Utica Comets are very serious.

Thanks to a friend for the picture (I’m 6 time zones away, so the Comets are a GLOBAL thing).

Darren Archibald finds himself in Utica, working on his National Hockey League dream as a member of the new Utica Comets. A 6-foot-3, 212-pound left wing from Newmarket, Ontario, he spent most of last season with the Chicago Wolves. If he is disappointed in being sent down to the American Hockey League again by the Vancouver Canucks, he isn’t moping about it.

Archibald and more than two dozen other players were at the Aud as head coach Travis Green led the Comets through their first practice on their home ice. Green, who scored 193 goals in a 16-year NHL career and won a Western Hockey League championship with the Portland Winterhawks in his first season as a head coach last winter, expects a few more players to be added to the roster shortly. The squad will be whittled down to 22 to 24 by the time the Comets open the regular season Oct. 11 at Rochester. It wasn’t the first time Green has been in the Aud. He was with the Capital District Islanders for three seasons when Utica’s previous AHL team, the Devils, were in the league.

What it will look like is what Green and assistant coaches Paul Jerrard and Nolan Baumgartner, both former pro defensemen, will be working on.

“I’m pleased with the effort,” Green said after the first of two split squad practices Wednesday. “Some spots are taken on the team. That’s just the way it is. Some are open. But the best players will play.”

The Comets play at the Hershey Bears on Friday, and will play the Adirondack Phantoms on Sunday at Kennedy Arena in Rome.

The training camp roster for the Utica Comets is set. Camp begins this week, and the team’s first official practice was Wednesday afternoon at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

The Comets will be in Pennsylvania for a preseason game Friday at Hershey. They will host the Adirondack Phantoms in a preseason game Sunday at Rome’s Kennedy Arena, and their final preseason tune-up will be Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the Hamilton Bulldogs.The Comets open the season on the road Oct. 11 at Rochester, and they open their home schedule Oct. 23 against the Albany Devils.

Training Camp Roster
: Joe Cannata, Mathieu Corbeil, Joacim Eriksson.

Defenseman: Peter Andersson, Jeremie Blain, Alex Biega, Sacha Guimond, Patrick Mullen, John Negrin, Adam Polasek, Yann Sauve, Henrik Tommernes, Brad Walch, Louis Liotti.

Forwards: Steven Anthony, John Armstrong, Darren Archibald, Ludwig Blomstrand, Kurtis Bartliff, Brandon DeFazio, Alex Friesen, Alexandre Grenier, Yanni Gourde, Daultan Leveille, Kellan Lain, Wesley Myron, Pascal Pelletier, David Pacan, Colin Stuart, Kellan Tochkin, Alexandre Mallet, Mitch Elliot, Jesse Mychan, Benn Ferriero.

Utica Comets Opener Will Be A Big Event


Home opener Wednesday, Oct. 23 will not only feature great hockey, but with the help Galaxy Communications, there will be a fan fest too. A lot of cool names will be there too: starting with  NHL Hall of Famer Gordie Howe. Plus the Hanson brothers (Steve and Jeff Carlson) from the movie “Slapshot” and ’80s rock band Night Ranger. The Bud Light Utica Comets Fan Fest, which will take place along Whitesboro Street across from Utica Memorial Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

The Comets also announced that single-game tickets will go on sale beginning Saturday, Oct. 5. Prices range from $15 to $25. Comets officials said they’ve already sold more than 1,000 season tickets, and they anticipate that the Aud will be filled to capacity opening night.

Howe, 85, is one of the most revered players of all time – so much so his nickname is “Mr. Hockey.” He played for the Detroit Red Wings and Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League, and the Houston Aeros and New England Whalers in the World Hockey Association. He career lasted from 1946 through 1980.

Big connection with the Hanson Brothers too. Scenes from the movie were filmed at the Aud

The fan fest will begin at 4 p.m. and conclude with a fireworks display just before the puck drops for the 7:30 p.m. start against the Albany Devils.

Utica Comets Schedule for the Season Looks Great


Utica Comets have announced their 2013-14 regular season schedule.  The inaugural season of Utica Comets hockey will begin on Oct. 11, when the Comets visit the Rochester Americans at 7:05 p.m.

Utica will have a fan-friendly home schedule, that kicks off on Oct. 23 against the Albany Devils, which consists of 29 of their 38 home games being played on either a Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The weekend home schedule will be highlighted by 16 Friday night home games and eight Saturday night home games.

Comets fans will have an opportunity to see 18 different opponents this season, the most diverse schedule in the AHL. Affiliates of the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks (Rockford) as well as the Buffalo Sabres (Rochester), Pittsburgh Penguins (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) and Philadelphia Flyers (Adirondack) will all make appearances at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

Utica will compete in the North Division of the Western Conference along with Hamilton (Montreal), Lake Erie (Colorado), Toronto (Toronto) and Rochester (Buffalo). They will play 28 games within the North Division and 54 total games within the Western Conference. The Abbotsford Heat (Calgary Flames) will be Utica’s most common opponent as the Comets will face them 12 times.

Don’t forget, FM 94.9 K-ROCK will broadcast all 76 regular season games, as well as all post-season games. Brendan Burke has been named the play-by-play broadcaster, and head of public relations, for the team’s inaugural season in the American Hockey League.

Utica Comets Hockey Starting To Get Its Act Together


The Utica COMETS are getting ready to slay the American Hockey League.

We have found out they will be in the Northern Division of the American Hockey League. Other teams are Hamilton, Ontario (farm team for the Montreal Habs), Lake Erie (like Cleveland and farm team for Colorado, Rochester Americans (Buffalo Farm Team), and Toronto (for me great because ESPN Europe shows their games).

Travis Green, a 14 year NHL guy who played with Robert Esche, Comets President, will be the coach.

Green, a long-time National Hockey League player and several times Team Canada member – he helped win gold in the 1997 world championships – and most recently interim head coach of the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League, met the media for the first time Friday via a conference call that included team president Rob Esche.

“I’m not a coach who wants to play boring hockey,” said Green, who scored 193 goals with five teams over 14 NHL season. “I want the puck. You have to make plays. You can’t be constantly dumping the puck. I want puck possession, a team that wants to make plays, be aggressive on the forecheck and backcheck. Compete is a big word with me. I expect to have my teams compete very hard.”

After just four days, the Utica Comets reached 1,000 season tickets sold on Wednesday.

Team officials say selling that amount assures that the Utica Memorial Auditorium will be above 25 percent capacity for every home game the American Hockey League team plays in 2013-14.

“The Utica Comets hockey fans have just blown us away,” said Comets President Robert Esche. This “is a great indicator as to just how ready Utica, NY is for AHL hockey.”

It was announced  that the Vancouver Canucks would be relocating their AHL affiliate from Illinois to Utica for the upcoming AHL season. Season tickets went on sale Saturday morning, with packages raging from $390 to $732.

Hockey broadcast veteran Brendan Burke has been named the voice of the Utica Comets. Burke will serve as both the play-by-play announcer and head of public relations during the Comets’ first season in the American Hockey League.

Burke, who has been part of more than 500 hockey broadcasts, comes to Utica from the Peoria Rivermen, where he served as the play-by-play announcer for the past five years. He also has NHL experience,occasionally filling in as the play-by-play announcer for the St. Louis Blues.

Hope he can get the Comets on Internet radio so I can listen, even if the middle of my night.

Hey, I need hockey pictures. I’m the other side of the Atlantic Ocean (Nice, France) and am going to be their biggest European fan. Need helpers when the Comets startup who will snap a picture of the Comets and send to me.

Utica, New York ….. The COMETS Are Back


UTICA New York

The Comets are back.

After more than a decade without professional hockey — and 30 years before that of teams coming and going — the game is returning to the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

After months of rumors and speculation, it was announced Friday that the Utica Comets will play in the American Hockey League beginning this fall as the minor league affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks of the NHL.

And the team will be skating in a refurbished Aud.

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, who feels the AHL fits in with his vision of a revitalized Bagg’s Square and Harbor Point development, was passionate in his welcome to the team.

“What a great day for the city of Utica,” he said. “The emotion is overwhelming. … Welcome Vancouver to Utica.”

A key draw for Vancouver was that the state will be pumping $5 million into the Utica Aud — inside and out.

Enhancements include:

  • Infrastructure improvements, including repairing the arena’s façade, updates to the heating and air conditioning systems and electrical upgrades.
  • A 400-car parking lot on Whitesboro Street.
  • New locker rooms.
  • Workout and medical facilities.
  • A players’ lounge.
  • Upgrades to food service areas.
  • A new video scoreboard and luxury boxes.

Additionally, the move to Utica will create 54 jobs, including front office positions, coaches, players, trainers and equipment managers. An additional 34 part-time positions also will be created for the days of games and events.

The new team was introduced with great fanfare at a jam-packed Aqua Vino Restaurant owned by Rob Esche. The former NHL goalie is president of Mohawk Valley Garden, which will operate the team.

The team revives the name of the hugely popular Eastern Hockey League Clinton Comets of the 1950s and ’60s and is the latest in a long succession of pro hockey organizations that have operated in the area since the EHL closed up shop in 1973.

Frank DuRoss of New Hartford — another of the owners of MVG and a long-time operator of minor league hockey, soccer and lacrosse franchises — said he is confident of success despite the troubles of teams over the last four decades.

“We have local ownership,” he said. “You have lifelong residents of Oneida County operating the team. … We have reasonable ticket prices. And we are working hand in hand with Utica College, which will help both teams.”

Esche, 35, an area native who lives in Westmoreland, played goalie for seven seasons in the NHL and five more in Russia before retiring last year. He also is a former USA Olympian. He said bringing a team here has been a long-time goal.

“The Utica Devils left town (in 1993) and I think the whole area felt down,” he said. “My dream was to bring an AHL team back here.”

The Comets will share the building with a number of hockey programs, including Utica College but Esche does not see a conflict.

“UC hockey is what started this,” he said. “Scheduling will not be an issue.”

Laurance Gilman, the Canucks’ vice president for hockey operations, was asked if Utica might be a stop-gap site for the Canucks, who according to reports in Vancouver media are deeply interested in Abbotsford, British Columbia, the current home of the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate.

MVG’s contract with the Canucks is for six years.

Esche acknowledged there is an escape clause but suggested it is heavily weighted in MVG’s favor and something the Canucks would be very reluctant to exercise.

“We signed a multi-year agreement,” said Gilman, who signed Esche to his first NHL contract with the Phoenix Coyotes. “We are deeply committed to be here, and we will ice as great a team as possible.”

Gilman said there is no clause in the deal that would call for the city of Utica to make up financially for any operating losses.

Gotta read this link below to see the whole story

More history…..Going way back