BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Four months after its parent club announced it will move the Binghamton Senators to Ontario, team officials announced what sources have said for nearly a week: The New Jersey Devils are relocating their AHL franchise from Albany to Binghamton.
When Binghamton hockey fans go to the arena next season, they'll likely be rooting for the Binghamton Devils.
"Jim Matthews brought something here in 1973 that has been special in this community ever since," said Tom Mitchell, the team's executive vice president.
The process began in January 2015, and many of the details came together just before Christmas, Mitchell said. There were three other NHL franchises that had reached out about relocating, but Mitchell declined to discuss which teams.
"I don't think this could've worked out any better. It's great for our community," he said.
Mitchell also said the team had reached an agreement with Broome County to extend its lease through the 2021-22 season.
The Albany Devils are suffering multi-million-dollar losses in the Capital Region, according to team president Hugh Weber.
"When there was an opportunity that came up to find a market that had the proximity and could neutralize those losses, we made the decision to make the transition," said Weber.
He went on to say the location of Binghamton played a key role in the move. The Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena has everything a hockey team and fan could want.
"There's nothing that isn't new over there," said Mitchell. "We're going to create an environment here that is better than they've ever had."
Season tickets for the Binghamton Devils went on sale Tuesday.
Last week, news spread that the AHL would vote on the move at a Board of Governor's meeting over the weekend as league leadership met for the all-star game. The move was approved Sunday.
“I hope everybody's happy with this," said Mitchell. "I’m glad it’s over. It’s been a year of, I don’t want to say glitches, but issues that we've had to sort through, and I don't think there's any losers in this whole situation.”
Current Binghamton Senators head coach Kurt Kleinendorst has a long history with the Devils' organization and says fans are lucky the team will fill the Arena.
"That's an organization that I spent nine years with. I think at the end of the day as disappointing as it is for the fans here, they're going to be in good hands. They have a good young team that's had some success as of late. It might take a little bit getting to used to. It won't be the B-Sens anymore, but this is going to be a really good experience."
The four-decade Binghamton hockey tradition includes team names like the Dusters, Whalers, Rangers and Senators.