The Senators are gone, but not the American Hockey League.
That's what Tom Mitchell, Binghamton Executive Vice President of Operations, said at a press conference on Monday.
The Ottawa Senators announced on Monday morning that it would be moving it's AHL affiliate to Belleville, Ontario.
The reason was to be closer to the home team, which Mitchell said he understood. "Many NHL teams have done that over the year and I think, from the hockey side of the business, it makes a lot of sense for them," Mitchell said.
But Mitchell said Ottawa wouldn't leave unless a new team was coming to take it's place. He said that is set to happen, but wouldn't say what franchise will set up it's affiliate in the Southern Tier.
The B-Sens will keep playing at Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena through the end of this upcoming season. After that, ownership is confident a new team will step in for 2017-18. "You can never say 100 percent. I mean, the building might burn down," Mitchell said. "But I will say 99 percent."
Mitchell hopes to announced the details of the new team by the first of the year.
In addition, Binghamton ownership is working on a deal to extend its contract with Broome County to play at Veterans Memorial Arena through 2022. "We've talked about it several times and I'll be talking to them again in the very near future," Mitchell explained. "They know what this team means to the community and what it means to this building."
The current deal runs through the 2018-19 season.
The Senators franchise has been in Binghamton since 2002.