The Utica Comets AHL hockey team announced a "Fan Fest" celebration for Wednesday, October 23rd on the grounds around the newly renovated Utica Memorial Auditorium as part of their opening night festivities.

The night will begin with the mayor of Utica, Robert Palmieri, officially declaring Oct. 23 as “Utica Comets Day”. Legendary classic rock band Night Ranger will headline the pregame festivities with a free outdoor concert. The Bud Light Utica Comets Fan Fest events will also include an autograph session from 4-6p.m. with National Hockey League legend Gordie Howe, presented by First Source Credit Union. There will also be many activities for children including an interactive play area.

“I have been looking forward to this day for as long as I can remember.” said Comets President Robert Esche. “Oct. 23 promises to be a very special day, and it will be remembered by Utica hockey fans for a long, long time.”

Fan Fest begins at 4 p.m. The Hanson Brothers, immortalized by the film “Slapshot” which was partly filmed at The AUD, will also be on hand for an autograph session at the jam-packed event from 4-5:30p.m. A fireworks display will cap the Bud Light Utica Comets Fan Fest as Comets fans make their way into the Utica Memorial Auditorium for the historic Comets Home Opener.