BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (WIVT/WBGH) – The Binghamton Black Bears are preparing for the 3rd season in franchise history that will begin on Saturday night.
The Black Bears have made the playoffs in each of their first 2 seasons, with both playoff runs ending with a series loss to Danbury.
Team owner Andreas Johansson, Head Coach Brant Sherwood, Forward Tyson Kirkby and Broome County Executive Jason Garnar spoke to the media on Tuesday ahead of the season opener.
Having reached the FPHL semifinals last season, the goal for the new year is simple, win the league title.
“Our ambition, as well as our expectation, is to be able to bring a championship back to Binghamton,” Johansson said. “We know you guys have waited for quite a while and we know we’ve been very close. And I think this year we truly have the team to do it.”
Through the first 2 seasons, the franchise has found great success off the ice as well, breaking the FPHL attendance record in 2022-23 with over 100,000 fans attending games.
Garnar explained why Black Bears Hockey has found success within the Broome County community.
“This team has had great attendance the past 2 seasons,” Garnar said. “And that’s because not only do they put an exciting hockey product on the ice, but they also create a fan-friendly experience in the stands that makes for a really awesome experience for the Broome County community.”
This year, the Black Bears will have a new leader on the ice.
Kirkby was named the new team captain on Tuesday.
The forward has been with the team since joining in the 2021-22 season, being a crucial part of each Black Bears playoff run.
Kirkby spoke about the honor of being named captain for the upcoming season.
“I’m so happy to represent my team, the players, the fans, the whole community,” Kirkby said. “Any time you get to be a captain or wear any letter on your jersey, it is a huge honor. And I’m very thankful that Coach Sherwood has entrusted me with this job for the season. Thank you.”
Now just a few days away from the start of the season, Garnar has one goal in mind for this year’s team.
“I have just one small request for Andreas, the coaching staff and the team this year,” Garnar said. “Actually it’s a directive. Let’s bring home that cup this year, I know that’s gonna happen.”
The Black Bears open their season at home on Saturday against Elmira at 7 p.m.