After letting the huge announcement that the American Hockey League would return to Utica set-in for the weekend, the man who engineered the deal joined WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning to answer many of the questions everyone is asking about the Utica Comets and the AUD.

In the interview below, Robert Esche explains everything from the renovations to the Utica AUD, to the difference between season ticket and advance sale tickets, and why the lease agreement with the Vancouver Canucks has a more personal touch that city's past affiliation with the New Jersey Devils:

  • Season ticket purchases allows you avoid additional fees that you may be charged with if you buy a ticket the day before a game (advance sale) or make a walk-up box office purchase the night of.
  • Six year lease - Vancouver reported to a paper that it was a one year deal. It's a six year lease and the Canucks have the options for an additional six years after that. Esche said New York wouldn't allocated millions in funding for renovations if it was only going to yield a one year deal.
  • He said it was difficult to keep quiet and not publicly correct certain details that were being reported, because he didn't want to jeopardize the deal.
  • Laurence Gilman, Assistant GM of the Canucks, was involved in Esche's first two NHL deals. ''I've known him since I've been in the NHL.'' Esche believe that relationship Vancouver highlights a difference between Utica's previous AHL affiliation with the New Jersey Devils.
  • On the total of $5 million dollars in state money that is funding upgrades at the AUD: ''I know this may fall on deaf ears, but I swear, it was a terrific experience dealing with our politicians. They said from day one, 'If you can get a team in here long term, we'll help you out.' Esche also indicated the state assistance was a key piece of the deal
  • Many changes to the AUD won't be visible to fans, including building lockers, upgrades to electrical boxes and infrastructure. Changes you will see include, upgrades to the facade, a new video board, which ''will be like a huge TV on the wall''. Improving the AUD's sound system will part of the renovation as well
  • Eight (8) luxury boxes will be built from the outside in. Esche said alot of the work will be done during the inaugural season, then when the season is over the work would extend 'through the walls' and being complete next summer.

Full interview from WIBX First News with Keeler in the Morning:

More From WIBX 950