The Long and Winding Road...back home
Well folks, this is it. The day that we've been waiting for since May, and for some of us, for the last 20 years. Today is the day that the Utica Comets finally come home to play their first game at the Aud.
For the first time since 1993, Utica will finally get the chance to officially welcome an AHL hockey team home.
It has been a long time coming, but the night is finally here. And though the road hasn't been easy, tonight for Utica fans, it's a clean slate. The Comets started off their season with a two-week, 3 game road trip that saw them drop the first 3 contests in franchise history and now sit at 0-3-0, and are at the bottom of the division.
However, in the last game against the Rochester Americans, Utica showed tremendous resiliency on the road and came back from a 4-1 deficit in the 3rd, to tie the game at 4 in the final minutes before eventually falling 6-4 in a heart-breaker (the 6th goal being and empty netter).
With the confidence gained on the offensive end from the come back, and the chance to finally play in front of the home fans, the Comets should come out flying tonight against the Albany Devils. Whether or not they will win remains to be seen, but if the preseason game at the JFK Civic Arena in Rome is any indication of how they'll play at home, I'd say that Utica fans should be in for an exciting night.
In 1993, the area cheered as the Utica Devils played their final games in the Mohawk Valley, leaving the city without a team for the next two decades. Tonight, Utica fans will be cheering for the Comets to beat the Devils, and earn their first win ever on home ice.
The irony of sports is just one of the things that make it interesting, and tonight's matchup should be just that. The passing of the torch from the Devils to the Comets over a long period of time is now complete, and fans have been eager for the moment to chant "Let's Go Comets," in the newly renovated Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Tonight is a night to reflect upon the history of hockey in Central New York. From the original Clinton Comets, to the Devils, to the Prowlers, to the UC Pioneers, and the local high school state championships, the Utica area has proven to be one of the biggest hockey towns in the region.
Tonight, that history continues as Utica has finally taken its rightful place within the hockey world once again. The legacies that we're left behind by team's of old will be picked up by a new chapter of Utica hockey.
When the Comets take the ice tonight at 400 Oriskany Street W., the legacy carries on as a new chapter begins.
With all of the hype, AHL hockey is finally back in Utica tonight. When the puck drops at 7:35 p.m., I'll be there ready to watch history in the making! I'll see you down there.