ONE MORE DAY! After all of the waiting, after all of the anticipation, the Utica Comets regular season officially begins tomorrow night in Rochester.
With the first game in franchise history just over 24 hours away, and with the announcement, Tuesday, that the team's home opener on October 23rd is sold out, the long dream is finally a reality. AHL Hockey is back in Utica!
Head Coach Travis Green, a former NHL veteran, and company are getting set to head west on the Thruway to begin their journey with the hopes of showing Upstate New York, and the league as a whole, that the Comets aren't just a team here to please local residents with nostalgia about the days when the Utica Devils took to the Aud ice. No, there is much more to that...
While Utica will bring excitement back to the area who has suffered from AHL hockey withdrawal for 20 years, this team is here to compete, to win. This team is here to try and bring the Calder Cup (the AHL's equivalent of the Stanley Cup) to a revitalized and buzzing city.
Last year, Utica-area residents followed as the now-rival Syracuse Crunch nearly brought the Cup to Central New York, only to be halted by the Detroit Red Wings' affiliate, the Grand Rapid Griffins.
After getting a taste at what a deep run in the playoffs is like, the area is now hungrier than ever to be propelled into the AHL's elite.
While the excitement over the Comets coming to town has been one of the most popular topics in Utica over the course of the summer, and the beginning of the fall...the time has finally come.
When the puck drops tomorrow in Rochester at 7:05 p.m., all of that excitement will finally be solidified. However, once the Comets hit the ice against the Americans, the excitement of having a team in Utica will turn into the thrill of having the chance to have a professional sports championship brought home.
Along the way, Comets players and fans alike will realize just how hard it is to win it all at that level, and it may require some time before Utica truly contends for a deep playoff run. But for now, standing with a clean slate at 0-0, with the beginning so close, the possibilities are there.
And that, in itself, is enough to keep us watching, to keep us listening, to keep us cheering.
A new chapter in the City's history begins tomorrow...I'm ready, are you?
Leave your thoughts on what tomorrow means to you, and your excitement level as the Comets finally hit the ice for real, below.