Utica Comets Might Be Long-Term for the Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks announced on Thursday the Utica Memorial Auditorium would become the home of their AHL franchise, the Utica Comets, for the 2013-14 season.

Details such as the length of the agreement were not immediately made available, but the team could be in Utica for the foreseeable future.

It has been well-reported the Canucks initially wanted to move the franchise to Abbotsford, which is just over an hour away from Vancouver. The city of Abbotsford, the Calgary Flames, and Canucks could not come to an agreement to facilitate the move, however.

At the press conference, Canucks assistant general manager Laurence Gilman didn’t say the Canucks were committed to the city and the Mohawk Valley, but he did promise a winning product and a Calder Cup.

In a statement posted on the Canucks website , Gilman also said Utica was a great location because of its proximity to other teams. Less time would be spent travelling and more will be spent practicing.

“Utica is located in the heart of the American Hockey League, it’s within a couple hours driving distance to half a dozen teams,” he said. “From a developmental model, it’s a great location to place an American Hockey League team because your team will be playing games and sleeping at home more nights, which translates to more days practicing. That’s truly a win-win for everyone.”

Abbotsford is the only city in the Pacific Time Zone and the closest teams are two time zones away. It would have made it easier for the Canucks to make call-ups (granted the team was at home) from Abbotsford compared to Utica, but there would have been little practice time. The benefit of this probably outweighs the convenience of quicker call-ups.

It also looks like the team spent considerable time developing the Comets logo and it wasn’t an overnight Photoshop job.

Not a “one year throwaway project” is probably correct.

If the Canucks intended to stay in Utica for one or two years, naming them the Canucks probably would have done the trick. Use the same jerseys and replace the ‘Vancouver’ wordmark on the front with ‘Utica’. Done.

It looks like the Comets will be there ‘longer-term’ if not long-term.

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