Utica, N.Y. – The CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden announced today that the famed Harlem Globetrotters will bring their talents to the Adirondack Bank Center on Thursday, February 7, 2019, as part of their all new Fan Powered World Tour. A star-studded roster will have fans on the edge of their seats to witness the ball handling wizardry, basketball artistry and one-of-a-kind family entertainment that thrills fans of all ages. Since 1960, the Globetrotters have been performing in Utica and have established themselves as a staple of entertainment at the Adirondack Bank Center (formerly the Utica Memorial Auditorium). Featuring some of the most elite dunkers on the planet, exceptional ball handlers, and Guinness World Record holders, a Globetrotters game is more than just basketball – they are the ultimate in family entertainment that will bring smiles and fan interaction to people of all ages.

Tickets for the Globetrotters World Tour go on-sale at 10 a.m. on Thursday, October 18, online at or, in-person at the Adirondack Bank Center’s box office or by calling 315-790-9070. Tickets for the Globetrotters in Utica start at just $17. Fans looking for a VIP, interactive experience can purchase a Magic Pass, presented by Tum-e Tummies, starting at just $20. Group pricing is also available by request.

Be sure to visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @ADKbankcenter for more information.

About the Harlem Globetrotters®

The Harlem Globetrotters® are legendary worldwide, synonymous with one-of-a-kind family entertainment and great basketball skills for the past 92 years. Throughout their history, the Original Harlem Globetrotters have showcased their iconic talents in 123 countries and territories on six continents, often breaking down cultural and societal barriers while providing fans with their first-ever basketball experience. Proud inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Globetrotters have entertained hundreds of millions of fans – among them popes, kings, queens, and presidents – over nine thrilling decades. The American Red Cross is the official charity of the Harlem Globetrotters. Sponsored by Entenmann’s Donuts ®, Ticket Galaxy and Baden Sports, Harlem Globetrotters International, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Herschend Enterprises, the largest family-owned themed entertainment company in the U.S. For the latest news and information about the Harlem Globetrotters, visit the Globetrotters’ official Web site: and follow them on Twitter @Globies.

Utica City FC, Major Arena Soccer League Team, Coming To Utica

Commissioner of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) Joshua Schaub announced today that an MASL franchise will call the Adirondack Bank Center its home, beginning this 2018-19 season. CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden Robert Esche followed the announcement with the unveiling of the team name – Utica City FC – along with the team logos and jersey design. Utica City FC will join 17 other teams across the United States, Canada, and Mexico in the most competitive indoor soccer league in the world.

The press conference, held at 72 Tavern and Grill, featured an overview of the MASL, the presentation of the Utica City FC’s brand, and remarks from Commissioner Schaub. Esche also announced the appointment of Tommy Tanner as General Manager and Richard Shaw as Broadcaster/Media & Brand Manager. 

Tanner comes to Utica City FC with the Syracuse Silver Knights, where he served as their General Manager since 2011 after retiring from a 14-year professional indoor and outdoor soccer career. During his career, Tanner spent eight years as Captain of the Rochester Rhinos, and won himself seven championships. 

Shaw, a native of Northwestern England and graduate of Le Moyne College, also experienced a successful collegiate and professional soccer career before turning his attention to growing the grassroots of soccer. During his college playing career, he was an NJCAA Division I National Champion, All-American, and a three-time MVP. He also co-wrote Coaching Outside the Box: Changing the Mindset in Youth Soccer with U.K. sport scientist Paul Mairs. Shaw is also a commentator for Division I college soccer on ESPN.

“This is a positive step for arena soccer and for the MASL,” expressed Schaub. “Utica fans are passionate about their hometown teams and Tommy (Tanner) has put together a competitive and exciting product that fans from the entire region will support. If they like hockey, they’ll love arena soccer. I am excited about what Robert (Esche) and his team can do with Utica City and how that will propel the league forward.”

I am very excited to help bring professional soccer to the City of Utica,” expressed Tanner. “Utica City FC and its players will become a staple in the local community. I cannot wait till for season to begin.”

“From my first meeting with Rob Esche, Pat Donovan, and Tommy Tanner, it was clear that the plans for Utica City FC would bring something special to the area,” said Richard Shaw. “The professionalism of this new franchise, along with what it can potentially do for the growth of the sport in the surrounding communities, is why I am involved.”

“It’s an honor to bring another sports brand – Utica City FC – to what is an extremely deserving area,” said Esche. “I look forward to resonating with the entirety of our city through the sport of soccer, a sport that has finally hit a tipping point of popularity throughout the country and a sport that speaks an international language, helping to galvanize the voice of our refugee community.”

“I’m really excited about the new franchise in Utica, and to see how the fans and community embrace us as an organization committed to making a difference both on and off the field,” expressed defender Darren Toby.

Bank of Utica, Empire Recycling, and Merrill Lynch, Utica City FC’s three founding partners, were instrumental in bringing the team to Utica. 

Utica City FC will play 24 games throughout their season, with 12 of those games taking place at the Adirondack Bank Center. The MASL season runs from December through March, with playoffs to crown the Ron Newman Cup Champion. 

Season Ticket packages, starting at $80, will be available beginning on Thursday, June 14, at noon. Season Tickets can be purchased at the Adirondack Bank Center box office or online at Please call 315-790-9070 for more information. 

Prior to December, camps and clinics featuring an array of professional indoor players will take place throughout Utica and the surrounding areas.

Fans are encouraged to visit and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for ticket information, news and announcements, information on camps and clinics, merchandise, and more about Utica City FC. 

The Major Arena Soccer League represents the highest level of professional arena soccer in the world. The MASL features teams across North America, with teams playing coast-to-coast in the United States, Canada and Mexico. The MASL is currently incorporated as a 501(c)6 not for profit corporation formed to promote the business and sport of arena soccer.

Multi Grammy-Award Winners Alabama to Hit the Adirondack Bank Center on November 10

CEO of Mohawk Valley Garden Robert Esche announced today that multi Grammy-award winning country band Alabama will perform at the Adirondack Bank Center on Saturday, November 10, at 7:30 pm, on their ‘The Hits Tour 2018.’

Tickets for Alabama go on sale Friday, June 15, beginning at 10 am EST, at the Adirondack Bank Center’s box office. You may also purchase tickets by visiting or by calling 315-790-9070. Tickets prices range from $34.75 to $129.75. Relevant presale information will be distributed later this week.

Alabama, a famed American country and Southern rock band, is a world-renowned trio comprised of Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook, who are known for their hits “Mountain Music,” “Song of the South,” “Dixieland Delight,” and more. They have created 21 straight #1 singles, a record that many think will never be broken, and have sold over 72 million albums throughout their almost-50-year career. The trio was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

Alabama recently announced their “The Hits Tour” which will stop in cities nationwide and revolve around the band’s 43 #1 singles. This will be Alabama’s first stop in Utica.

Alabama is yet another exciting announcement for the Adirondack Bank Center, which recently underwent a $10.55-million-dollar renovation and expansion project that included the addition of suites, loge seating, and 72 Tavern and Grill, a new restaurant attached to the venue.

“We’re honored and excited to host a band as renowned as Alabama at the Adirondack Bank Center, especially on Veteran’s Day weekend,” said CEO of MVG Robert Esche. “We are looking forward to a great show and another memorable milestone for the epicenter of sports and entertainment in the Mohawk Valley.”

Be sure to visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information.

UFC Fight Night In Utica Knockout Success

Bantamweight Marlon Moraes concluded UFC Fight Night at the Adirondack Bank Center with a dramatic knockout less than a minute into the main event. After delivering a textbook head-kick to his opponent, Jimmie Rivera, the fight was all but over. A quick flurry of punches followed by the referee’s call and Moraes would earn top honors for the night leaping to the top of the cage to celebrate.  

Twenty-four athletes squared off inside the octagon positioned perfectly beneath the Adirondack Bank Center’s iconic 72 cables. It was only the eighth UFC event in New York since MMA was legalized in the State with over 4,000 fans filling the seats.

The FS1 broadcast would begin with the commentator calling Utica “the city that God forgot.” By the end of the evening it was confirmed he was wrong. Utica, NY was at the epicenter of the UFC world and fans and fighters alike were raving about the iconic AUD atmosphere. At times the feeling in the building rivaled that of a Comets home opener or playoff series. A “U-TI-CA” chant could even be heard at one point.

“What made me the happiest was how excited the fans were for UFC being here in Utica,” said Moraes. “They were amazing.”

Local favorite, Gregor Gillespie, won the co-main event in a second-round submission to improve his record to 5-0 handing Vinc Pichel his first loss since 2012.

“I couldn’t imagine coming home and losing in front of the crowd that came to support me,” said Gillespie. “It’s such a unique feeling. I appreciate that more than I express.”

“I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’ve never been to a fight before,” said Erika Hawes. “We had a lot of fun! It was so exciting; the crowd was great and we loved our view. You could see everything. Our guy, Desmond Green, won his fight and we couldn’t be more thrilled for him and his team.”

After Sam Alvey’s split decision victory he turned to the crowd and confirmed, “Hell yeah, Utica! Woooooo! Your town is beautiful!”

The final phase of the West End Expansion of the Adirondack Bank Center project finished just in time for UFC Fight Night with the opening of 72 Tavern & Grill.

The full-service eatery featuring a 160-inch high definition LED video wall, 30-foot bar and 5,000 square feet of space for diners and sports fans opened at 11am on Friday and was filled with fight fans by dinner hour. The atmosphere was similar to that of the arena floor.

“From the entrance outside it looked like it would be small, however when you went inside, it was the opposite,” said Karina Casaletta. “I just stopped in quick to check it out and have a drink at the bar. The bartenders were all super friendly and even though there was a good amount of people there we got our drinks right away! Looking forward to going back soon to sit down and grab some of that delicious looking food that others were ordering.”

Unlike the concession options inside the Adirondack Bank Center, the 72 Tavern & Grill will be open 7 days a week providing the perfect space to enjoy the Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Finals, Belmont Stakes and more! A calendar of featured events is available on the tavern’s website.

For more coverage of the events including photos, videos and Tavern updates follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

UFC Fight Night FAQ


 What time do doors open?

The doors will open for UFC Utica Fight Night at 5:30pm.

Will there be tickets at the doors?

Yes, tickets will be available at the door until sold out, however we recommend purchasing them ahead of time by visiting www.empirestatetix.comor calling 315-790-9070.

How long will the event last?

The first event begins 6:30pm with prelims at 8pm and the main event scheduled to begin at 10pm. The main event is expected to last until 1am.

What can I bring into the Adirondack Bank Center?

We ask that guests please refrain from bringing in outside food and beverage, audio/video/professional photography equipment, laser pens, unapproved pamphlets/handouts, weapons of any kind, illegal drugs/alcohol, and any other items deemed to be inappropriate by Adirondack Bank Center Management. This list is not all-inclusive, so if you have an item in question, please call ahead of time.

Is photo/video recording allowed?

Video cameras, tripods, audio recording devices, and cameras with zoom lenses are NOT permitted inside Adirondack Bank Center at any time.

Where should I park for UFC?

The Adirondack Bank Center operates two parking lots during events. The VIP/Handicap lot is located adjacent to the building on Auditorium Drive and can be accessed through the entrance on Whitesboro Street. A second large lot is located behind the building with an entrance on Whitesboro Street and is open to the public. These lots will have limited parking available at all events for $5. Other free and charged parking options surrounding Adirondack Bank Center are also available.

Will the other bars at the Adirondack Bank Center be open for the event?

All bars and concession stands inside the Adirondack Bank Center will be open for the event including the Horton Room, Zetlin’s and one9five9. Kilfoil’s Irish Pub will be closed for this event.

How does the Utica Food Pantry drive work?

Fans are encouraged to bring a canned food item to the Adirondack Bank Center on Fight Night and drop it off at one of the pickup vehicles parked in front of the Labatt Blue Ticket Entrance. This initiative is part of the UFC’s commitment to bettering the communities they visit and is supported by a $5000 donation to the pantry from the UFC.

When is the weigh-in?

There will be no ceremonial weigh-in for this event.

72 Tavern

 Can I make a reservation at 72 Tavern on June 1st?

No. Due to the UFC event no reservations will be taken for June 1. Reservations will be taken on Open Table beginning Monday, June 4.

Can I go back and forth between the restaurant and the Adirondack Bank Center for UFC?

No. The Adirondack Bank Center has a no re-entry policy.

What type of food will be served at 72?

The dynamic menu will transition from lunch to dinner, showcasing dishes ranging from appetizers to full-sized entrees. 72 Tavern & Grill perfects your favorite guilty pleasures, from finger lickin’ wings, to juicy burgers, to decadent flatbreads.

What are the hours of 72 Tavern on June 1st?

72 Tavern will open its doors to the public for the first time at 11am.  

UFC News Conference Kicks Off Fight Week

The UFC hosted a free news conference inside the 72 Tavern and Grill on Tuesday morning ahead of the highly anticipated UFC Fight Night: Rivera v. Moraes at the Adirondack Bank Center on Friday, June 1.

This was the public’s first chance to see inside the 72 Tavern and Grill, also opening Friday, June 1 for a weekend of great sports including UFC Utica Fight Night, Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals and Game 2 of the NBA Finals.Fighters Jimmie Rivera, Marlon Moraes and Gregor Gillespie were joined by New York State Senator Joseph Griffo, New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, Mayor Robert Palmieri, Utica Comets President Robert Esche and David Lockett, UFC Senior Public Relations Director.

Friday night’s event will be only the 8thUFC event in New York State since its legalization on March 22, 2016.

New York State Assemblyman Joseph Griffo was one of the many elected officials who worked tirelessly to legalize MMA in New York State. “We were very happy the day the Governor signed the bill to legalize MMA,” said Griffo. “It is a great opportunity for athletes to compete in the state of New York and economic benefit.”

Marlon Moraes and Jimmie Rivera will headline Friday’s event and promised to both “put on a show” and “entertain [Utica] on Friday night.”

Gregor Gillespie, a native of Rochester, NY is excited to compete in the octagon in his home state once again. “Being able to fight in New York is incredible, it feels good to be home. I want to win for you guys, my people in Rochester and Upstate New York.”

The event concluded with a charitable donation from the UFC to the Utica Food Pantry in the amount of $5000. Russell Brooks accepted the donation on behalf of the Utica Food Pantry, “to have an organization come into town and want to help is really special. Our shelves need this shot in the arm this time of year.”

Tickets for UFC Utica Fight Night are still available by visiting the Box Office at the Adirondack Bank Center between 9am and 5pm or by calling 315-790-9070 or visiting

Multi-Platinum Selling MercyMe’s “The Imagine Nation Tour” To Visit the Adirondack Bank Center This Fall

Utica, N.Y. – 5X GRAMMY® nominated MercyMe’s “The Imagine Nation Tour” with longtime friends Tenth Avenue North will make a stop at the Adirondack Bank Center on November 2, 2018 as a part of their 20-city nationwide tour.

Tickets will go on sale Friday, March 23 at 10 a.m at the Adirondack Bank Center Box Office. You can also purchase tickets by visiting or by calling 315-790-9070.

The award-winning groups will bring a bevy of fan-favorite songs. MercyMe promises performances of many of the favorites on their newest music release, I Can Only Imagine – The Very Best Of MercyMe, including “I Can Only Imagine,” “Greater” and “Shake” along with their most recent No. 1, “Even If.” Tenth Avenue North will share songs from their latest album Followers including “I Have This Hope” and “Control” along with the hits “By Your Side,” “Worn” and more.

“The Imagine Nation Tour” will be a reprise of the fan-garnering line-up which made sold out visits this winter. Among them, a sold-out stop at Nashville’s iconic Ryman Auditorium.

“I Can Only Imagine” (Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions), a true story based on the life of MercyMe frontman Bart Millard who wrote the mega-hit song after the loss of his father to cancer, opened in theaters on Friday, March 16. The highly anticipated film stars Dennis Quaid, Trace Adkins, J. Michael Finley, Madeline Carroll, Priscilla Shirer, Cloris Leachman and more.

About MercyMe

Since their debut in 2001, GRAMMY® nominated, multiple American Music Award and Dove

Award winners MercyMe have sold more than 9 million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered more than 57 No. 1 multi-format radio singles and four consecutive mainstream radio hits with “I Can Only Imagine,” (No. 4 AC/Top 25 on Top 40/Hot AC), “Here With Me” (No. 4 AC), “Homesick” (Top 10 AC) and “So Long Self.” MercyMe made history in 2014 as “I Can Only Imagine” surpassed 2 million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double-platinum in the digital domain. The album containing the hit, Almost There, recently received triple platinum certification from the RIAA. In 2009, Billboard named MercyMe’s “Word Of God Speak” the No. 1 Song of The Decade and the group the No. 1 Artist of the Decade in both the Christian Songs and Christian AC Songs categories, recognizing them as one of the industry’s most notable talents. They have sold out venues throughout the US and Canada, including Radio City Music Hall, and have appeared on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, FOX New Channel’s FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News and in the pages of Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, USA Today and more. MercyMe’s eighth studio album, the RIAA Certified Gold Welcome To The New, garnered two GRAMMY® nods and four radio hits. LIFER, their latest charttopping, GMA Dove Award winning and GRAMMY® nominated album, includes the RIAA certified gold, GRAMMY® nominated smash hit “Even If” which dominated the Billboard and

Mediabase radio charts with a 19-week streak at No. 1.  It continues to be a landmark year for the current GMA Dove Award titled “Artist Of The Year.” A major motion picture based on the life of frontman Bart Millard who wrote the mega-hit song “I Can Only Imagine” after the loss of his father to cancer opened in theaters on Mar. 16, 2018 (Lionsgate, Roadside Attractions) starring Dennis Quaid among others. Carrying the same name, Millard’s first memoir released last month. I Can Only Imagine – The Very Best Of MercyMe is available now.

72 Tavern & Grill Coming to Adirondack Bank Center This Spring

Utica, N.Y. – President of Mohawk Valley Garden, Robert Esche and President of ORB Food & Beverage, Jeff Stone announced today that 72 Tavern & Grill, a modern sports bar with a full-service restaurant attached to the West End of the Adirondack Bank Center, will open later this Spring.

72 Tavern & Grill, named in honor of the 72 cables that have held up the roof of the Adirondack Bank Center for over 50 years, will be operated and managed by ORB F&B, the branch of Mohawk Valley Garden that runs the Adirondack Bank Center’s concessions and food service operations. The focal point of the bar restaurant will be a 160-inch LED HD video wall, designed and manufactured locally in Whitesboro by Mike Evke, Founder of Eversan. Construction on the eventual site of 72 Tavern & Grill is on pace for a Spring opening.

“It’s extremely exciting to be able to expand ORB F&B into the restaurant industry at the Adirondack Bank Center, an historic venue that has consistently served as a social center of Utica,” said President of Mohawk Valley Garden Robert Esche. “72 Tavern and Grill is a key factor in providing the ultimate experience for the patrons and fans at this historic National Engineering Landmark.”

With its own dedicated entrance and exit, 72 Tavern & Grill will be open year-round and seven days a week, catering to brunch, lunch, and dinner crowds alike. One of 72 Tavern and Grill’s main functions will be to cater to local sport fanatics, showcasing the fiber-optic feeds of all Comets home games, in addition to Sunday football, NHL playoffs, March Madness, fight nights, and other nationally televised sports and entertainment events. The menu will feature a range of cuisines and dishes from appetizers to full-size entrées, all focusing on a strong fusion of unique flavors and comfort food classics.

Beginning on Monday, March 19, ORB F&B will hold a job fair, where interested applicants can come to the Adirondack Bank Center with a completed application for a brief first-round interview. The job fair will run as follows:

Monday, March 19, from noon-3 pm
Wednesday, March 21, from 4-7 pm
Thursday, March 22, from 4-7 pm

ORB will be filling over 50 vacancies, ranging from Assistant Managers to Servers to Cooks to Bussers. If you are not able to attend the job fair, please email with your application attached.

“We are looking forward to the opening of 72 Tavern and Grill and the addition of over 50 employees to ORB and the Adirondack Bank Center,” said President of ORB Jeff Stone. “Our goal for the restaurant is to serve as a year-round mecca for sports fans throughout the Mohawk Valley.”

 About ORB Food & Beverage

ORB Food & Beverage, LLC was founded in 2013 alongside the inception of Mohawk Valley Garden, the Utica Comets, and Garden Entertainment. ORB operates and manages the concession branch of the Adirondack Bank Center, in addition to the food service of the new premium seating addition of the arena.

Dunkin’ Donuts Named Official Coffee of Adirondack Bank Center and Utica Comets

Dunkin’ Donuts has been named the official coffee of the Utica Comets and Adirondack Bank Center in Utica, New York, which will now serve Dunkin’ Donuts signature coffee during all events through September of 2022.  The announcement was made today during the official first brew at the Adirondack Bank Center.

Dunkin’ Donuts hot coffee, iced coffee and hot chocolate will be available during all Adirondack Bank Center events beginning on Friday, March 9, when the Comets host the Springfield Thunderbirds at the Adirondack Bank Center.

“Dunkin’ Donuts is thrilled to make our signature hot coffee, iced coffee and hot chocolate available during all games and future events at the Adirondack Bank Center,” said Dunkin’ Donuts Integrated Marketing Manager Eric Stensland. “We are extremely proud to be the official coffee of both the Comets and the Utica Pioneers men’s and women’s hockey programs in this great city. Dunkin’ Donuts cherishes the opportunity to keep Utica fans running while attending games and enjoying the many events at the Adirondack Bank Center.”

Comets President Robert Esche and Comets Captain Carter Bancks joined Stensland and other Dunkin’ Donuts representatives for the ceremonial first pour, which took place in a concession at the Adirondack Bank Center. The event was also attended by Jeff Stone, President of ORB Food & Beverage and by Utica College Men’s Hockey Head Coach Gary Heenan and Women’s Hockey Head Coach Dave Clausen.

“We’re extremely excited to have Dunkin’ Donuts partner with the Comets and the Adirondack Bank Center for the next five years,” said Comets President Robert Esche. “Aligning ourselves with a national brand like Dunkin’ Donuts will further enhance the overall fan experience at the Adirondack Bank Center.”

The first official cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee will be one of many brewed in the Adirondack Bank Center over the next five years.  The 3,924-seat, National Historic Engineering Landmark is home to the AHL’s Utica Comets, Utica College Pioneers Men’s and Women’s hockey programs, and the Utica Jr. Comets youth hockey organization. The venue also recently underwent a large-scale, 26,000-square foot construction endeavor that added a luxury seating wing, additional women’s restrooms, ADA-compliant amenities, and more.

“The addition of Dunkin’ Donuts to ORB Food & Beverage’s repertoire at the Adirondack Bank Center is exciting not only for the Adirondack Bank Center but for Utica as a whole,” said Jeff Stone, President of ORB Food & Beverage, the company that operates the concessions at the Adirondack Bank Center.

The recent partnership with the Utica Comets, Utica Pioneers men’s and women’s hockey programs and the Adirondack Bank Center is part of a long-term commitment from Dunkin’ Donuts to both the Utica community and the sport of hockey. Dunkin’ Donuts is also proud to serve as an official sponsor of both the National Hockey League and National Women’s Hockey League.

Syracuse Stars Junior & Midget Teams Relocating to Adirondack Bank Center

Utica Comets President Robert Esche announced today that Syracuse Stars will relocate three of their teams – USPHL NCDC (Tuition Free), Premier, and U-18 Tier 1 – to the Adirondack Bank Center for the 2018-19 season. The United States Premier Hockey League is the largest hockey league in the United States and places hundreds of players in the collegiate ranks each year.

Esche and Stars Owner Don Kirnan worked together to bring the three teams down the thruway to Utica, where they will add another layer of tenants to the historic home of the Comets, Utica College Pioneers, and Jr. Comets.

The Stars play in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL), and participate in both regular season games, showcase tournaments, and playoffs. The regular season consists of approximately 60 games, split between home and away. Teams are located across the northeast, with players from all over the world.

The acquisition of the three Stars junior teams is another step forward for the partnership between the Comets and Stars, and a testament to the longstanding relationship between Esche and Kirnan. The two have known each other for over 20 years, when Esche was coached by Kirnan during his time playing with the Syracuse Stars Junior team. The Stars began partnering with the Jr. Comets last winter, when members of the Jr. Comets Peewee team traveled to Quebec City as part of the Syracuse Stars. The partnership continued up north to Quebec earlier this month. And for the Jr. Comets, the relocation of the Stars teams to Utica further aligns the players with the USPHL for their future hockey careers.

“In building the Stars program over 30 years, I feel totally confident that Rob Esche and Nicole Kirnan have the vision and experience to bring youth and junior hockey to the best place ever in Central New York,” said Don Kirnan.

“It’s always an honor when you can partner on the sport that you love with a leader like Don Kirnan,” said Esche. “This partnership is extremely exciting to me personally as it will not only bring kids from all over the world to be billeted in Utica but will also add another element of tutelage for the younger hockey players as well.”

Esche and Kirnan will spend the Spring and Summer organizing the transition of the teams from Syracuse to Utica. This will include scheduling of ice, allocating space at the Adirondack Bank Center, overall marketing efforts, community endeavors, and billeting needs. The Adirondack Bank Center is now home to hockey programs ranging all the way from Mites to Juniors to College to Professional.

Finally, the additional tenant at the Adirondack Bank Center could not have come at a more opportune time, as plans for the Nexus Center continue to move forward. The future of a tournament-based sports recreation facility shines much brighter with a neighbor just next door housing all levels of hockey. The Adirondack Bank Center and Nexus Center can truly exist in a mutualistic fashion, possible primarily through the sport of hockey thriving and growing in downtown Utica.

Syracuse Stars’ Tier 1 U-16 Tier 1 team will continue to play out of Syracuse. 

Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Jr. Comets: