UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Comets played for a sold out crowd Friday night, at the Utica Memorial Auditorium against the Toronto Marlies. The game marks the Comet's second to last game of the season. Those who attended experienced Fan Appreciation night and watched some of the Comets receive achievement awards.
The fan fest included team photographs and prizes. The first 1,000 fans even got the chance to get their very own Darren Archibald bobble head. It was all as a way for the Comets to say thank you for fan support. All the while, community members and local legends presented the players with awards.
Tom McVie, a former player, scout and Utica Devil's coach and Eric Weinrich who began his professional hockey career in Utica and played for 17 seasons in the NHL presented the award for the coach's Most Valuable Player and the Comets Best Defense man.
The most valuable player award went to Pascal Pelletier and Cal O'Reilly. Alex Biega received the best defense men award.
McVie said he was honored to be back in Utica, "This is the biggest thrill. I have had a lot. I was with the Bruins when they won the Stanley cup and I played a long time. I coached a long time, but to name an award after me? I think that's really cool."
The Ian Anderson Award was given to the player who has improved the most this season.
Joacim Eriksson, goaltender for the comets was the recipient of that award, and was presented by the late Anderson's wife and son.
Ian Anderson was a former Clinton Comet. He played defense from 1965 through 1970. Following his reign on the team he stayed in the Greater Utica region, got married and raised a family. Anderson passed away last November, but his legacy continues to live on.
"It's a great honor," Jordan Anderson, Ian Anderson's son said. "It's my dad, it's great to have his recognition here and such a great hit in the community."
Another award given out at the Award ceremony was the Thomas Lindsey Memorial Community Award. The Utica Police Department presented that award in memory and honor of the late Thomas Lindsey who was gunned down during a traffic stop on Nielson Street in 2007. That award was given to the Comets player who spent the most time giving back within the community, Brandon DeFazio.
The Utica Comets face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins tomorrow for their last game of the season.
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