BINGHAMTON N.Y. – The Binghamton Devils are on the move. This announcement is as much of a surprise for fans as it was to the team’s Executive Vice President of Operations, Tom Mitchell.
Mitchell told WBNG’s Nicole Menner that he received formal notice of the AHL team’s relocation on Wednesday. According to Mitchell, the inability of the Binghamton organization to comply with demands made by their NHL affiliate New Jersey Devils was a key factor in the split.
“This is devasting news to us, to the community. The demands [the New Jersey Devils] were putting on us were absolutely impossible and we just couldn’t comply with them. So, it looks like we’re going to part ways and just try to move on.”
Mitchell did not elaborate on the details made by New Jersey. Though, he did clarify that he had no indication that the team would be leaving and does not yet know where the team is headed next.
Update to B-Devils situation:
B-Devils VP of Operations Tom Mitchell tells me the NJ Devils informed him earlier this week the AHL team will be relocated.
Mitchell said the demands they put on Binghamton ownership were “absolutely impossible” and they couldn’t comply.
— Nicole Menner (@NicoleMenner) April 17, 2021
As of right now, signs are pointing to the team heading to Utica. On April 5, Utica Comets President Robert Esche filed for a trademark for the Utica Devils. The trademark includes a variety of items under the Utica Devils trademark including clothing, programs, posters, toys, and entertainment services including hockey games.
As for the Comets, their contract with NHL affiliate Vancouver Canucks has an opt-out clause following this season, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch. There are rumors floating around that Vancouver may be looking at moving their AHL team north of the border to somewhere in British Columbia.
Nothing official but Canucks considering bringing AHL team home to B.C. next season. Lots of reports from Utica about business-ops president Robert Esche trademarking "Utica Devils." Canucks-Utica agreement runs until 2025 but VAN has an out-option after this season.
— Iain MacIntyre (@imacSportsnet) April 17, 2021
Meanwhile, the five-year affiliation agreement between New Jersey and Binghamton is set to end at the end of the 2021-22 season.
Binghamton hopes that their location and other offerings will attract a continued professional hockey presence in the area.
“Binghamton has been a great home for an American Hockey League team for the better part of 50 years and there’s a lot of good reasons for an American League team to be here. Geographically we make a lot of sense to all the teams around us, to the league, and Binghamton has a lot to offer. A terrific building, terrific fans and we certainly don’t deserve this treatment.”
This is an ongoing story. Stay with The Sin Bin as news develops.