Comets Tales: Trevor Linden Takes in The AUD

by Don Laible

Nov 30, 2014

This past Friday’s post-game press conference in The AUD was anything but routine.

On a night that the Utica Comets delighted their sixth sell out crowd, and a night where they picked up two points with a 2-1 win, coach Travis Green met with a half dozen members of the media. Minutes after Green took his last question and returned to his locker room, a special guest emerged from the Comets locker room unannounced. Comets’ Director of Communications Mark Caswell, Jr. escorted Vancouver Canucks’ President of Hockey Operations and Alternate Governor Trevor Linden to the post game press conference in front of the Comets’ media backdrop.

“This is tremendous for me,” Linden says. “I was just talking with Frankie Corrrado in Vancouver about how much he enjoyed playing here. This (Utica) is a great experience.”14_1130 linden2

Linden compared the Utica hockey atmosphere to that in the film Bull Durham. The 1988 release depicts the relationships of the players and fans in a small town atmosphere where success is realized. It was clear from Linden’s first words spoken, not only is he impressed with the atmosphere in The AUD, he acknowledges that the players appreciate where they play too.

Accompanied on his trip to Utica by Canucks’ Assistant General Manager Laurence Gilman, Linden took all questions. Cordial and engaging, Linden said from the start that it was great for him to be here. His posture and genuine connection with those positioning microphones, pads, and cameras before him, there was every reason to believe his sincerity when speaking about their farm team in Utica.

“It’s not just about those playing in Vancouver. It’s also about the 50 contracts in our system,” says Linden, who played 16 seasons for the Canucks, including seven as team captain.

Emphasizing the importance of developing talent for Vancouver, in Utica and elsewhere, Linden made it a point to give credit for the organization’s success this season to Benning.

“He’s a builder,” Linden explains. And when discussing “developing the kids” in Utica, Linden graciously points the finger to Travis Green.

“I don’t think anyone understands this (development) like Green,” Linden explained. “There’s a moxie about him, like a Marc Crawford, who understands the tactical part of the game.”

Like other NHL leadership who have affiliates in the AHL have echoed, Linden sees the benefit of having the future Canucks playing in the northeast. He stressed what there is to like about the location of Utica and it’s proximity to many of their opponents. As Linden noted, the Comets maximize their practice days, and minimize their travel days.

As for The AUD and the Mohawk Valley hockey fans who have already rung up six sell-out crowds in 10 home games, Linden liked what he saw.

“The building has a great atmosphere. Ultimately, for us (Canucks) it’s about developing players. Getting to play in front of crowds like this prepares them for the crowds at Rogers Arena.”

Being in attendance before a sold-out crowd, watching the Comets snap Adirondack’s nine-game winning streak, getting to experience first-hand Vancouver’s investment in Utica, by all accounts, Trevor Linden’s introduction to everything Comets went well.

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