An anticipated event will take place in the AHL on Wednesday, when the Belleville Senators play their home opener at a renovated Yardmen Arena.
The Senators–who relocated to Belleville, ON from Binghamton, NY after the 2016-17 season–began the AHL campaign with a road trip that lasted through October 28. On November 1, the club will celebrate a milestone when it plays its first game at Yardmen Arena, a venue that was modernized in preparation to host professional hockey.
As part of a more than $18.5 million project, Yardmen Arena received renovations that affected both the fan and player experiences. Along with an increased seating capacity of 4,400, the venue offers upgraded concourses and new premium seating. Player facilities also received significant improvements, while the arena is now equipped with an NHL-size ice surface.
Leading up to its home opener, the Belleville community has offered a very receptive response to its new team, according to Senators chief operating officer Rob Mullowney. More from TheAHL.com:
“In a lot of ways, it has been good that we’ve been on the road because we’ve been able to get our feet underneath us. It’s all the little details. You can do a lot of work to get prepared, but it always gets down to those finer details.”
Mullowney also has had to sell the AHL’s brand of hockey to a market that had a deep familiarity with the junior hockey experience. To that end, the Senators have set up game-night viewing parties for fans during the October road trip and undertaken an aggressive marketing campaign.
“The community has been fantastic, very receptive. The nice thing about where we are is that hockey matters in Belleville and the Bay of Quinte, so people are supportive and recognizing the players.”
Wednesday’s game will begin at 7:00 p.m. eastern time, with the Senators hosting the Syracuse Crunch.
Rendering courtesy Belleville Senators.
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