It was a somber start to Friday night's Comets Hockey game at the Aud following the news that a long-time ice official Gary Eckler was stabbed and killed in Ilion earlier in the day.

The night started in sad fashion as Comets announcer Tom Coyne asked fans to participate in a moment of silence before the start of the game. It wasn't announced that Eckler was a part of the Ilion stabbing; but, people soon made the connection with the breaking news that came out of the Valley earlier in the day.

"He's been here forever," said one Comets staffer who said Eckler's tenure with Utica hockey dated back to at least the Utica Devils in the 1990's.  Eckler was a former Remington Arms employee, according to his Facebook page.  The Observer Dispatch also reported that Eckler drove bus for Birnie Bus, the Mount Markham School District and for Meals on Wheels.

State Police and Ilion PD are currently investigating the incident. A woman is being questioned and police have released no additional details.

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