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Comets Pres. wins top AHL Executive award


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Utica Comets president Robert Esche and Rockford IceHogs executive director Gordon Kaye have been selected as co-winners of the James C. Hendy Memorial Award, given to the outstanding executive in the American Hockey League for 2013-14.

Without the benefits of a large, modern arena, Esche quickly took a market that had been without AHL hockey for two decades and revitalized it. Under his guidance, the Comets became the talk of the town, hosting 17 sellouts at the refurbished Aud and playing to more than 90 percent capacity for the season. Esche and his staff emphasized the organization’s place in the community and embraced the city’s rich history of professional hockey in making the Comets’ inaugural season a great success.

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17 sell outs is pretty impressive. Next year hopefully Gaunce and Shinkaruk can bring more goal scoring and get the fans pumped up.

At the end of June the Comets had over half the Aud sold in full season tickets. 22 game partial season ticket packages haven't even gone on sale yet. Should be even better year for the Comets.

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"His team missed the playoffs, how doesn't a playoff team win this award?"

Sometimes, winning is measured in different ways. You take a chance and bring a AHL team to a economically challenged portion of New York State. You take a chance and bring a AHL team to a city where the AHL and 3 other post-AHL teams have failed. You take a chance and bring a AHL team to a city where naysayers are constantly giving you gloom and doom stories.

The team arrives and the following happens in a city that they said it would never work:

Inaugural season tickets sales reach 1000 sold in 4 days.

19 sellouts for a team that spent most of the 1st half of the season in LAST place.

Ticket sales that averaged 90% capacity for the season.

50/50 drawings that saw the drawings eclipse $10k for most of the home games.

2014-15 season ticket sales approaching 2200 BEFORE the ticket sale program started.

Community spirit and PRIDE at levels not seen here in a long, long time. In Utica, we measure success differently, not just by wins on a score sheet.

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