Finally… we are down to the last game of this three-stop, four-game swing to open the 2015-16 season. The Bears have had great practices all week long, and after a five-hour trip north yesterday, are getting ready to take morning skate at a very historic place.
The renovated Memorial Auditorium in downtown Utica, New York will play host to the Bears and Utica Comets tonight at 7:00 PM. Utica, the top developmental affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, is in its third AHL season under the current affiliation.
I thought I would start off with a bit of history today. The eldest and most historic franchise in the American Hockey League should have a nice game archive, wouldn’t you think? Thanks to president/general manager Doug Yingst having enough office space to store all of this, I was able to dig through the four-inch-think binders that sit in our copy room and find the last game sheet from the last time Hershey visited Utica.
Just three days after the end of the “Superstorm of 1993” – a monster that paralyzed half of the United States at some point with blizzard conditions, amazing snow totals, severe storms and beach erosion – Hershey traveled to upstate New York to face the then-named Utica Devils. The 1992-93 season was Utica’s last in the AHL, or so we thought… until the 2013-14 campaign got underway and hockey came back to this region.
It was St. Patrick’s Day. A little luck was needed everywhere just to navigate the highways, but Hershey made it. At the end of the night, the Bears came out on top by a count of 6-2. And they scored six goals against someone who… well… let’s just say had a heck of a career.
Bears forward Carter Camper, who came out of the first three games with four points (1-3-4) and is tied with rookie Jakub Vrana for the early Bears scoring lead, chatted with me about his time playing against the Comets last year while with the Binghamton Senators. I’ll have that interview in-between periods tonight, in what should be a great game and fantastic atmosphere. Utica is sold out for pretty much the rest of their season. I’m told it’s a loud, rowdy crowd of nearly 4,000 that is all the way behind their defending Western Conference champions.
Pre-game is at 6:20 and the puck drops at 7. I’ll have in-game updates on here after each period.
Time to even our record and come home to the BEST FANS IN THE AHL.