What a day it has been for the Binghamton Senators and its fan-base over the course of the last 24 hours. The Ottawa Senators were reportedly, and I repeat, reportedly on the move to re-locate their AHL affiliate from Binghamton to Belleville, Ontario, Canada.
As more and more NHL teams are following the trend to send or recall players with less travel time closer to their homebase, Ottawa is no exception with the town of Belleville 2 1/2 hours away versus nearly four to the Southern Tier Region of NY. I suppose the savings of an hour and a half also meant the border crossing as a determining factor. But I still don't fully understand why.
The initial report came from a tweet from the Ottawa Citizen;
Binghamton Sens moving north to Belleville say Broome County officials https://t.co/x2Wa8vG85I— Ottawa Citizen (@OttawaCitizen) July 8, 2016
As the Citizen broke the
chaos news yesterday with that story headline which seemed inevitable to some, but numerous rumors to others surrounding the suggestion lately that Ottawa wanted to forego the final two years of their current five year agreement and move their farm team closer to home. While it seemed juvenile at that time because the organization agreed to a new commitment that would last to the end of the 2019 season, anything is possible I suppose after Binghamton got burned with the NY Rangers leaving prematurely in the mid 90's.
But the question begs, what's wrong with the Binghamton market? Absolutely nothing. According to sources close in the hockey circles in the minor leagues, it's a location that fulfills many needs travel wise for teams geographically, and maintains a very strong market for the AHL that has a proven track record for nearly close to 40 years.
With the Senators possibly leaving for whatever reasons that I'm still searching for, it's going to leave an empty feeling for most of the fanbase in Bingo. Although the past teams did not reach great success as far as any playoff success, we did win it all in the Spring of 2011 with the City's first and only hockey championship that will forever be remembered. And as for that, we are extremely thankful.
I'm not going to dig any deeper on personal things and what they meant to the community right now, let alone on the ice. It can wait, as we have a whole season to reflect back on those that made an impact if this news goes through with an official post or tweet from the Senators Organization.
Mistaken or otherwise, this from Broome County Executive Debbie Preston's office that has them backpedaling big time now that the word is out there. From their Facebook page;
"We have not confirmed anything. When asked about the situation, we sent this statement:
"The AHL has committed to staying in Binghamton and Broome County, and as long as the league keeps that commitment, I am satisfied," says Broome County Executive Debbie Preston.
We were also asked about rumors and said this:
"I’m sure some fans will be disappointed, but we have very passionate hockey fans in our community and I’m sure that if a new AHL team comes to our community, it will have a strong backing." ~ Debbie Preston's press aide, Gabe Osterhout,
Strange. But the message was clear with no denial. Which leaves you with this. No official announcement from either side of officials in Ottawa and/or Binghamton.
So what's the deal?
Regardless, It was a friendly sendoff in some reactions from Senators' fans as they rallied on a personal level as highlighted by this tweet from Scooter Pha9;
I feel really awful for the wonderful Binghamton Senators fans I've interacted with on twitter like @AliciaS20 and @Ski931 .— Scooter Pha9 (@23SensFan) July 8, 2016
It continued to look bleak, but this one broke the bank as far as memories are concerned with the Binghamton Senators faithful from @jesannjo;
And Bingo was sure proud of our boys. #bsens #2011caldercupchamps pic.twitter.com/7r2Ffojc38— Alicia #3 (@jesannjo) June 7, 2016
I don't fully understand the problem that led to this announcement. Things were rough in the beginning between the two cities, but it worked its way out after 14 years. Either way, changes aren't fun. But in this scenario, time is on our side to have a back-up plan in place if this comes to fruition.
At least I hope so.