There's little doubt Utica is a hockey town..pro hockey dates back to the 1920's in the area starting with the Clinton Hockey Club..they eventually moved to Utica becoming the Mohawk Valley Comets until the Utica Mohawks took over in 1978,. They folded in 1980 and the stars moved in.
Four years later the Comets were back until the National Hockey League New Jersey Devils planted their farm team in Utica in 1987. The Devils held the longest tenure for 6 years before heading north to Canada. The Aud also played host to this famous scene from the movie"Slap Shot."
A number of lower lever pro teams inhabited The Aud for the next 7 years until Gary Heenan brought the college ranks to the city. Since that time the Utica College Pioneers have held the longest tenure of any team at The Aud. But recently rumors have swirled around the circular building about a pro team coming back to Utica.
Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri says, "We've been proven in the past that Utica is a hockey city, I think Utica College has done an outstanding job they brought the electricity back to it, it would be great to have a professional hockey team along with Utica College."
If a team were to come to Utica, could the city support a top college program with a professional team?
Palmieri says, "I think absolutely its sustainable, but at this point it's just rumors. I think a professional team hooked in with Utica College, the excitement they brought, I think that is a great venue for a surrounding geographic area."