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Utica Heat? Comets put rumors to rest, are here to stay
UPDATE: The Vancouver Canucks have issued a statement regarding their relationship with the Comets, as well as their plans for affiliation with Utica in the future:
"The Vancouver Canucks are committed to our AHL affiliate, the Utica Comets and enjoy a strong relationship with our partner club. A strong base of Utica fans have shown tremendous support throughout the season and the Canucks intend to honour our long-term partnership agreement with the Comets."
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - It was about this time last year when rumors began about the potential for Utica to become a host for a professional hockey team once again.
Initially people thought that the Calgary Flames would be moving their AHL affiliate, Abbotsford Heat, to Central New York.
However, the Vancouver Canucks ended up striking a deal, and they were the ones to bring the Comets here instead.
However, even a year later, the rumors have not stopped.
It was announced, Tuesday, that Calgary is going to relocate the Abbotsford Heat for next season.
However, Comets officials are assuring nervous fans that the Comets aren't going anywhere.
"The speculation is going to come, and the reason it comes is because of what happened last year, but like I said as we sit here today, its completely different circumstances," said Comets President, Rob Esche. "We have two partners that are extremely close with one another right now, Vancouver and us here in Utica.
"The players are happy, the coaches are happy, the management is happy."
According to Esche, the Comets are currently on a 6-year deal with the Canucks to remain as their affiliate in Utica, with five years left.
He also stated that they have a great relationship as of now, and that following this current contract, they will attempt to renegotiate a new one, whether with the Canucks or another NHL franchise.
So while comets fans hope that temperatures will get warmer here in Central New York, the "Heat" won't be coming to The Aud anytime soon.