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Those Calder Cup Cardiac Comets

The Utica Comets are certainly the talk of the area, and rightfully so: they, like their sky bound namesake, have lit things up in our town.
Jump back three years ago: the Memorial Auditorium was a building that had seen better days. The area had a sour taste in its mouth with professional hockey after a series of sub-par teams skated off into the sunset.
We were fortunate that Utica College kept the fires of hockey burning.
Fast forward- extensive Aud renovations, numerous sellout crowds and Utica hosts the AHL All Star Game.
And a team that is a mere two years old is now within reach of the grand prize- the Calder Cup!
Simply remarkable: how could such a thing happen?
Through a sheer force of will Rob Eshe and a small cadre of local investors convinced the NHL, political officials, and yes a skeptical public, that the AHL could flourish in our community.
But this is a story that extends beyond hockey. It is a story about having a vision and the intestinal fortitude to make it happen in spite of the naysayers (and this town can on occasion have one or two).
It is frankly similar to Earle Reed and a small group local runner’s belief thirty eight years ago that Utica could be home to a major running event. This was at a time when if you were jogging on the street people would ask who or what you were running from!
Well I guess you could say the Boilermaker has grown a bit since 1978 when less than 800 people finished that first race.
Clearly the community has embraced both the Boilermaker and Comets as one of their own. In fact, one of the hallmarks of both organizations is the unbridled enthusiasm, dare I say love, of both. The fan that screams for joy as the Comets score is the person standing on the Boilermaker course enthusiastically clapping yelling words of encouragement often to people they don’t even know!
I have joked in the past that Boilermaker Week was the one week when Utica felt good about itself and we only had 51 more to go. The Comets have gone a long way to instill in the community Utica pride.
So how cool it would be for the Comets to win the Calder Cup in mid-June (and they will) and a short month later the Boilermaker takes place!

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