Utica Comets President Robert Esche announced today that on Saturday, November 24, the Utica Comets will unveil a bronze, life-size statue of the four Clinton Comets – Dave Armstrong, Jack Kane, Pierre Prevost, and Borden Smith – who have remained in the area since their playing days and have served as unwavering ambassadors of the area’s Comet Culture. The statue also features a plaque in remembrance of Ian Anderson, the fifth in the group, who passed away in November of 2013.
For years, the Comets, along with the Upper Mohawk Valley Memorial Auditorium Authority, have searched for a way to honor and memorialize the five pillars responsible for growing the grassroots of hockey in the Mohawk Valley. Once they came up with the idea of a bronze statue, they commissioned Art of Bronze, based out of Los Angeles, California, to take on the project, which took over five months to complete; the piece weighs over 900 pounds and represents the figures in true life-size form. The process began earlier this summer with a 360-degree photoshoot at the Adirondack Bank Center, which was then translated into a sculpture that was made by an artist in Los Angeles; the piece was then sent across the Pacific to Thailand for the actual molding process. Finally, the bronze statue traveled back to Los Angeles, where Art of Bronze put the finishing touches on the piece, affixed plaques, and sent the statue across the continent to Utica.
The permanent fixture in the plaza outside of the Adirondack Bank Center will preserve the lives and legacies of the five men who are accredited with galvanizing the Comets brand, growing it throughout the Mohawk Valley, and establishing the entire region as a hockey hotbed. Their unwavering devotion and infectious personas made them natural ambassadors of the sport and of our Comet culture. The 1967-68 Clinton Comets are known throughout the hockey community for completing their season with a 57-5-10 record – a feat that still stands today as the best single season record in professional hockey.
“The Clinton Comets truly represent what the makeup of a hockey player, both on and off the ice, should be,” said Robert Esche, continuing, “and they are the reason that the sport of hockey has such a good name. Personally, I have been molded by these guys since I was a little kid, and it means the world to be able to create something so special for them that will live at the Adirondack Bank Center forever.”
“The AUD Authority is proud and honored to play a part in honoring the lives and legacies of these five Clinton Comets,” said Carl Annese. “The statue will be the idyllic representation of what they have given back to both our hockey community and the entirety of the Mohawk Valley.”
The statue will be unveiled in a ceremony at 4pm out on the plaza of the Adirondack Bank Center that fans are encouraged to attend. Immediately following the ceremony, the Comets will hold their annual tree lighting, complete with Santa Claus, out on the plaza. The team store will also sell a small number of limited-edition mini replica statues, beginning during Saturday’s game.