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Crews Hustle To Put the Finishing Touches on AUD Before Comets Home Opener

Hockey season is officially underway and the Comets will hit the ice in their home rink in just two days. As the home opener rapidly approaches crews are hustling around the AUD making last minute preparations.
Hockey season is officially underway and the Comets will hit the ice in their home rink in just two days. As the home opener rapidly approaches crews are hustling around the AUD making last minute preparations.
The phrase "so much to do, so little time" comes to mind after observing the work being done. There is so much behind the scenes work that goes into getting the AUD ready for game day and workers say it is the little tasks that start to add up.
"It's crazy, it's a lot of crossing the T's and dotting the I's but running around the arena and making sure everything's good to go,” said Brendan Burke, the radio broadcaster for the Comets.
Burke says some of the smallest details about the rink set up can take tons of man hours to complete. "Each single advertisement is one sticker that somebody has to put on with a team of people all the time but I mean it's you know, calibrating the speakers and making sure all of the videos, you get to see them played but it takes hours to load all of that information into the computer,” said Burke.
"We're tying up all the loose ends, all the little things that need to be done, getting shovels for the ice crew, getting media passes, getting the credentials set, the game notes set, all the little things that make a game crucial,” said Mark Caswell, Director of Communications for the Comets.
League organizers say that preparing for Wednesday's home game is no easy feat because not only are they introducing Utica to a brand new hockey team but to a new and improved AUD as well.
"We had 90 days to set up a team and a building, this is a 50 year old building and it's a national engineering landmark so it had to be brought up to standard, there's a lot of things that needed to be done,” said Caswell. “We gave it a fresh paint job, we put a brand new state-of-the-art locker room in, we put a new sound system in."
"The locker room specifically, it was just a hole, it was just a concrete hole with no walls, no running water, no anything and to see it now is just a remarkable transformation,” said Burke.
And with all the buzz surrounding the home opener, local businesses are making their own preparations.
“Oh, I'm very excited we're going to have drink specials and food specials and it's going to be great for everybody in the community I mean all of the establishments are going to benefit from this,” said Naomi Thierry who works at Tiny’s Grill in Utica.
"It's been a long time since pro hockey has been in Utica and I think it's a great thing for the town and I'm looking forward to watching the games,” says Greg Dvorak from Utica.
The puck drops at 7:35 on Wednesday night. Although the game is sold out, fans can gather outside the AUD to watch the Comets. There will be big screens set up and a fan fest party.

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