In a joint statement, Devils President Jake Reynolds and Devils Executive Vice President/General Manager Tom Fitzgerald, expressed their excitement surrounding the new partnership:
“After multiple discussions and evaluating the options available for the future of our American Hockey League franchise, we have agreed to partner with local operating group Mohawk Valley Garden in Utica, NY, led by Comets President Robert Esche, to relocate our AHL franchise starting with the 2021-22 season. We are pleased to announce that this is a ten-year partnership which establishes a mutual commitment between our organization and the city of Utica. We look forward to creating new memories for the fans as the next generation of Devils’ stars develop their professional careers at the Adirondack Bank Center. Working with Robert and his team will be an exciting opportunity as we look to build upon the passion and enthusiasm that they’ve created in making Utica one of the top markets in the AHL.”
The organization will remain the Utica Comets, with jersey designs and colors to be revealed later this year. Throughout the process, both parties focused on the Utica community while introducing a new NHL partner into the City; the main component to that was ensuring that the team would still be called the Utica Comets.
“We could not be happier for the opportunity to partner with the New Jersey Devils, an organization with a rich history not only in the NHL but also in our own community,” said Esche. “The spirit of Comets hockey and the culture our fans have created will continue to grow as it has for decades and evolve through the next ten years, and we are honored to be a part of that with the Devils. As we look towards successfully developing some of the NHL’s top prospects, we eagerly anticipate this new chapter of Comets hockey.”
Esche also announced that, to commemorate the first day the Utica Devils took the ice in 1987, they will open at home on Sunday, October 17, 2021 – exactly 34 years since the Devils’ AHL hockey debut in the City of Utica.