It was a bittersweet night for Utica Comets fans after losing the home opener to the Albany Devils. But as YNN's Cara Thomas reports, fans are thrilled to have hockey back despite the loss.
UTICA, N.Y. -- History was made in the city of Utica on Wednesday night.
Not only was it the first opening night for Utica's new AHL team, but a hockey legend joined in on the celebration. Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey himself, opened the night with the first puck drop.
Comets fan, Steve Zabko, said, "This puts Utica on the map again for hockey. Gordie Howe coming to Utica, hansen brothers. The night rangers here. This is great. Just what we need."
The arena was filled to capacity. More than 4,000 energetic Comets fans fill the stands, rooting for a team they can finally call their own.
"I think it's pretty self-explanatory but I'm a huge fan of the comets. It's great to have pro-hockey back here," said the Utica Green Man.
"First in line for single game tickets at 3:30 in the morning. Get here first. I don't want to miss out on this. It's a long time coming, I just want to be part of it," said Zabko.
Fans were constantly on their feet, rooting for the players through their fair share of brawls.
"Like hockey should be, when somebody has the puck. They should be hit and if a fight breaks out so be it. Good aggressive hockey games, that's what we like watching. Like Eddie Shore, Toe Blake, Dit Clapper and Gordie Howe," said the Hansen Brothers, three actors from the movie "Slap Shot".
The fans supported their team no matter what the scoreboard said.
"Guys, you do your part tonight. I'll be right by the box doing what I do best. Let's work together here and get the W," said one of their biggest season fans... the Utica Green Man.
For those who weren't able to get a ticket, they were still able to enjoy the game and root their new team on from outside the AUD.
Utica's second home game will come against the Syracuse Crunch on Friday night at 7 p.m.