UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A steady line of fans lined up inside the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Saturday morning, wanting to be among the first season ticket holders to the city's new AHL team called the Utica Comets.
Among those in line was Denny Battista of New Hartford and his 10 year old son, Louis, who absolutely loves hockey. In fact, if you ask Louis, hockey is the most exciting sport there is.
"There's always something going on, whether it's a penalty, a shot, a goal or a hit," Louis Battista said.
Denny Battista says he grew up a huge hockey fan down on Long Island and now can't wait to go to the games starting this fall.
"I just hope that the community will support the team," he said. "I don't think I'm going to make all 38 games, but I wanted to support them and that's why I bought the season tickets."
Also onhand Saturday were Mohawk Valley Garden President Rob Esche and Vice President Frank DuRoss, the two men that many say are responsible for getting the Vancouver Canucks to relocate their minor league team 3000 miles away to Utica.
Mohawk Valley Garden, Inc. is the management group formed to bring a team to Utica and they did just that, with the big announcement made by Vancouver Canucks Assistant General Manager Lawrence Gilman on Friday afternoon at Esche's restaurant, Aqua Vino in Utica.
Esche and DuRoss were talking with all of the fans at The Aud on Saturday morning and were there to answer any questions they may have.
DuRoss, who has owned other sports franchises in the past, including a professional soccer team in Rochester, says he has always wanted to bring a hockey teem to his hometown of Utica.
"To come into the Aud this morning and see a waiting line of people to purchase tickets, it's a great morning, a great day followed by yesterday's press conference," DuRoss said.
He adds the interest in tickets is already very high.
"This has exceeded our expectations in terms of people calling, inquiring about tickets, Facebook likes," he said. "You know, four thousand likes in less than a day, and to have see all the signs on the seats that they are sold, it's pretty rewarding to our group."
DuRoss says the only tickets being sold right now are full 38 game season ticket packages.
He says there will be partial season ticket packages available in the near future, followed by tickets for individual games. However, the details haven't been worked out yet because the season schedule has not been released yet by the AHL.
More than 500 season tickets were sold on the first day.