Updated 09/21/2012 10:18 PM
NHL lockout brings good new to AHL
As the players union and NHL owners drop their gloves in a lockout, AHL teams like the Albany Devils get a boost. Our Erin Vannella reports.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- A different sort of "change on the fly" is happening as pro hockey players break away to American League ice.
"This lockout that's going to happen at the NHL level, for the fans that love AHL hockey, will be terrific," said Times Union Center GM Bob Belber.
That's right hockey fans. Just because an NHL preseason game was canceled at the Times Union Center for the 26th doesn't mean you missed your chance to see the pros in the Capital Region.
"There are some huge names that are going to be coming into the AHL roster from the NHL, like Larson and Henrique and various others," said Belber. "These are players that played in the Stanley Cup championship series this May and June."
Times Union Center team host, the Albany Devils hope big names mean a bigger crowd and big money. The city hopes so, too.
"People say we don't have a big fan base here but we're trying to reach out and let people know," said Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings. "Come down and support it. There's a lot of youth hockey. This is first class hockey and we're really going to have the opportunity to see the best players in the league."
The Times Union Center has sold more than 200 season tickets and the Devils 100 plus of their own on top of the renewals for the prior season's ticket holders. Players face-off October 13th.
"They're all fighting for that opportunity to stay at the NHL level and there's AHL players who are going to want to get to that NHL level so the action on the ice is going to be fierce and intense," said Belber. "It's going to be some of the best hockey this area will ever see."