Hockey League (UHL)
County Veterans Memorial Arena
Tier Hockey Fans Holding Out Hope
July 2, 1997
Mark Winheld, Staff Writer
Reactions ranging from skepticism to shock greeted Tuesday’s news that a proposed deal with the B.C. Icemen had broken off.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if this was one more bargaining ploy. It’s not over ‘til it’s over,” said Dave Armstrong, questioning whether the deal is really dead.
Dead or not, it’s nothing Armstrong, 45, will be losing sleep over. The general manager of the Polar Cap Ice Rink, in Chenango Bridge has gone on record previously that there’s plenty of hockey life left in Broome even without professionals.
“There’s some excellent hockey in the area. Youth hockey is very strong,” Armstrong said.
Some fans said they would be very disappointed if the negotiations could not resume successfully.
“I’m somewhat shocked. I thought Mr. Kraham was very positive,” said Willis L. Platt, 58, of Conklin, a season ticket holder since the days of the Dusters in the 1970s.
Platt managed to put a positive spin on the two body-checks Broome hockey has absorbed in a matter of weeks, the first being the departure of the American Hockey League’s Binghamton Rangers to Hartford, Conn.
“Maybe there’s a chance to get (another) AHL team now,” Platt said.
One fan won’t be devastated if the deal remains dead, because he didn’t have much use for the Icemen’s Colonial Hockey League—now the United Hockey League—anyway.
“I feel bad for the local owners who were trying to put a CHL team in Binghamton,” said Chris Kilmer, 36, of Johnson City. “But in the long run, the county would be better off if we could get an AHL team.”
Another surprised fan has been, and would be, happy with any professional team in the Broome County Veterans memorial Arena, regardless of league.
“If you like hockey you like hockey,” said Alan Diamond, 66, of Binghamton, whose season ticketholding history, like Platt’s, goes back to the Dusters.
Optimism is something else Platt and Diamond share. With new National Hockey League teams expected over the next two or three years, Diamond speculated, “Maybe one of the new franchises will need a market like us. They may take another look at us. Why not Binghamton?”