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Esche: Comets will play in Utica during 2020-21 season

With rumors swirling that the Vancouver Canucks were exploring the option of moving the Utica Comets to Canada temporarily for the 2020-21 AHL season, Comets President Rob Esche has confirmed that option is no longer on the table and the team will remain at The Aud.

Posted: Nov 19, 2020 1:38 AM

UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica Comets will, in fact, be playing at the Adirondack Bank Center for the 2020-21 season.

Comets President Rob Esche has confirmed with NEWSChannel 2 that the team will be playing in Utica this season despite rumors that it could be temporarily moved to Canada due to border concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It had previously been reported that the Vancouver Canucks were exploring the option of having its AHL affiliate play north of the border this season to avoid issues with call-ups should the U.S-Canada border remain closed to non-essential travel when the season was due to begin.

ESPN's Greg Wyshynski reported, Wednesday, that the idea was no longer on the table as it was deemed too costly to find the Comets a new temporary home for an extended period of time.

Wyshynski also said that the Canucks are still trying to figure out logistics regarding call-ups with potential border issues in play.

At this time, the AHL season is anticipated to begin on Feb. 5. Details regarding the length of schedule, make-up of schedule, and issues such as fan attendance are still to be determined.

AHL and Comets officials have previously said that in order to have a season, spectators would need to be allowed in the arenas as the league doesn't have any major TV deals to offset the cost of holding competition, travel, etc.

The league said it will work with all 31 member clubs to implement the return of fans to the seats based on local guidelines within their respective cities.

Currently in New York State, fans are prohibited from attending professional sporting events.

In July, Esche told NEWSChannel 2 that "one way or another" the Comets would figure out a way to play in the upcoming season.

Stay with NEWSChannel 2 for updates.

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