The Internet rumor mill is active once again about a potential shake-up in the AHL, but fear not - the Utica Comets are staying put.

Over the past few seasons the AHL has seen a shift in teams moving from the East Coast out West to be closer to their parent teams, and the creation of the AHL's Pacific Division has helped the NHL's Pacific Division teams move their farm teams closer to home.

This is where the Comets and Utica come into play. Many fans are speculating that the Pacific Division means that teams in the East are doomed to move out west.

Just take a look at this message a Reddit user posted on November 13 before quickly deleting it:

"Got some interesting 'news' last night from an old co-worker on an AHL shakeup this next year."

This set in motion a series of responses that ended with another Reddit user taking this guess:


Binghamton to Belleville

Albany to Binghamton

Hartford to Utica

Utica to ???

What are some places the Comets could go? Somewhere close to Vancouver, right? Victoria? Burnaby?"

Now again this is only rumor, but there are a few clues that set off alarms within the Utica fan base.

First, the Comets changed their goal-scoring song this season. Many believe that it is now the same one used by the NHL's New York Rangers. Actually, the new goal song was voted on and selected by the fans, not the team and bears no resemblance to the Rangers' song.

Next, we know the B-Sens are moving. It was recently announced the Binghamton Senators will be headed to Belleville, Ontario for the 2017-2018 season.

That announcement came with a promise however, according to the Ithaca Journal:

“The American league is going nowhere, that’s a given,” said B-Sens Executive VP of Operations Tom Mitchell said. “More than talks; (hockey) is going to stay in Binghamton and I can’t say much more than that. When (Ottawa) first approached us with (their intentions) six months ago, or somewhere in that neighborhood, they said ‘we’re not going anywhere until someone commits to Binghamton’ and that happened pretty much immediately.”

Second, the Ithaca Journal's report of the B-Sens moving included this:

Although the AHL is committed to staying in Binghamton, there are only 30 teams and many of them have solid foundations in their current cities. The Albany Devils could be a possibility but the team and the New Jersey Devils recently extended their affiliation agreement through the 2018-19 season. New Jersey, which owns their AHL team, seems happy in Albany despite poor attendance: less than 1,000 fans frequently show up to home games at the 14,236-seat Times Union Center. Only two teams averaged fewer announced fans per home game (3,366) than Albany last season.

And this:

The most interesting scenario would be the return of the New York Rangers organization. The Binghamton Rangers moved to Connecticut after the 1996-97 season and became the Hartford Wolfpack, but the teams’ current affiliation agreement expires at the end of the 2016-17 season. Hartford averaged 4,440 fans this past season in the 15,635-seat XL Center.

After more research we found that the Comets will most definitely be in Utica for at least the next three years.

Thank god the rumor mill is just that - rumors.

Rest assured - we are keeping our Utica Comets!


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