Utica Hockey Alumni To Convene This Weekend
Hockey players from Utica’s past are once again convening to meet their fans and reunite with their fellow teammates, during this year’s 3rd Annual Utica Professional Hockey Alumni Association gathering.
The weekend event starts on Friday afternoon at four with a public meet and greet at Tiny’s on State Street, then takes to the green on Saturday with a private charity golf tournament for the former players.
Joanne Gerace helps coordinate the reunion each year and says the meet and great and the tournament serve more than one purpose.
“It’s a great event for them because it’s a fun tournament out on the course, and then we raise money,” Gerace said. “All the proceeds go to local charitable organizations.”
In the past, the tournament has raised money for the Children’s Miracle Network and for Make-A-Wish. This year, money will go toward the Utica Youth Olympics and the American Legion New York State Baseball Championship Tournament held in the city.
Gerace also says bringing the players back to their hockey roots provides fans and friends a chance to relive the moments, while allowing players to reconnect.
“These guys, for how many years back -if you think, they go back to the early 1960s- have all come to Utica for the purpose of a career playing hockey, but they all came here to this town,” Gerace said. “They all enjoyed themselves in this town and [had] good success. [They] met a lot of people and made friends and memories.”
Former players and managers from many local teams, including the Clinton and Mohawk Valley Comets, the Utica Devils, Bulldogs and Blizzard, and the Mohawk Valley Stars and Prowlers will be on hand for Friday night’s meet and greet.
As of now, more than 20 players are registered to attend the event.