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: www.uticajrcomets.com