BINGHAMTON, NY – On May 16th, the Binghamton Devils played their final game in their 4-year history, a 4-3 shootout win at Lehigh Valley.
It was thought that Binghamton would be without a professional hockey team for the first time in decades.
However, along came the Federal Prospects Hockey League to save the day, and thus, the Binghamton Black Bears were born, and they’re ready to go.
On Friday, the organization hosted a media event to make several announcements, including one that will not just surely draw a larger crowd, but hopefully, grow the interest of hockey in the Southern Tier.
The Black Bears announced that they will be offering a free season ticket to all youth hockey players locally.
That includes players who are a part of the Southern Tier Hockey Association, the Binghamton Blizzard, and the IceHouse Hawks of the American Special Hockey Association.
Black Bears Owner Andreas Johansson says that this idea stemmed from the team’s commitment to the community.
“When we first came in here, such a big part of what we talked about was the community involvement. It means a lot for us to be here, let these great organizations, led by these great people up here with me today, flourish in the city. We really hope that they are going to be able to come down, and enjoy a lot of our games with the free season tickets,” Johansson said.
Along with the free season ticket promotion, the team also used the conference as an opportunity to showcase some of the changes, and similarities, that fans can expect when the season begins.
Among the changes was a brand new sound system installed throughout the arena, and the ice was laid down with the new Black Bears logo painted in at center ice.
However, you’ll still see some familiar faces, and hear some familiar voices, around the rink this year, something Johansson says was crucial in maintaining the level of quality expected by fans.
“I want to make it, what we said from the star, we’re going to try to keep the level of entertainment and the high-quality of everything around the team at the same level. So, video team, PA announcer, broadcaster, off-ice officials, pretty much everyone that was here last year are coming back to join us as we embark on this new adventure,” he says.
As Johansson mentioned, that will include the return of PA announcer Steve Shimer, as well as radio voice Rob Lippolis.
Fans will get their first chance to hear Lippolis on the call on Friday, October 29th when Binghamton heads to Watertown to face the Watertown Wolves.
The first game at Visions Veterans Memorial Arena will be on Saturday, November 6th against the Delaware Thunder.
Tickets for all games are on sale as of Friday.