By Max Cohan – SYRACUSE, NY (NCC NEWS)
On a Sunday afternoon in Binghamton, most people are probably huddled around a TV watching football. But a select group of fans have found their way down to State street and the Veterans Memorial Arena. The new home of the Devils.
From 2002 until 2017, Binghamton was home to the Senators, the AHL affiliate of the Ottawa team of the same name. Last year Ottawa decided to move their team closer to home and relocated them up to Toronto. In a corresponding move, Albany sent their Devils to Binghamton.
Now in the their first season in Central New York, the Devils will have a new audience in a place that has been home to hockey for over 40 years. The Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena has been the home ice for five different AHL teams since the arena opened in 1973.
Located in the downtown Binghamton area, it is a frequent attraction for college students, especially local Binghamton University. One student, Andrew Vignali, told me that he thinks its great to see the Devils come to town.
“I’m a lifelong hockey fan. I’ve been to a few games here already…It’s a great atmosphere, it’s a great time.”
And while Vignali enjoys attending the games you wouldn’t call him a Devils fan.
Vignali has been watching hockey for over a decade now as a Rangers fan. As he told me, “I bleed blue and red, I’m a Rangers fan for life.” While he has pledged his allegiance elsewhere, he still plans on attending games due to the proximity to his apartment, which is less than 50 yards away.
The Devils still have a way to go before they fully become part of the community. As the banners in the rafters showed, all of the teams before them have won something. So far, the Devils are 0-1 at home. In preseason, at least. They officially begin play this Saturday at 7 PM.