(WKTV) - The Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce had its annual luncheon Tuesday to honor two people for their work in reviving a community.
And those two people are Frank DuRoss and Rob Esche.
The pair announced in June that after two and a half years of fighting, their efforts paid off -- AHL hockey was coming back to Utica after a hiatus of two decades.
DuRoss and Esche accepted the Business Person of the Year Award and said that hockey isn't a corporation, a factory or a storefront.
"What it does is create a civic pride piece, that I think is secondary to none," said Esche. "It gives people a chance for hope and to believe in something. I think that's what we did."
The past year didn't come without its hurdles, but the two managed to hide the hiccups behind the scenes.
"Putting a team together as quick as we did in a new arena was pretty challenging," Esche said. "Next year, we'll be settled."
Now that the final puck has dropped on the inaugural season, it's time to start a new chapter for the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
DuRoss and Esche are waiting to hear from the state on the next round of funding.