40 Years of Binghamton Hockey

By Michelle Costanza

January 4, 2013 Updated Jan 7, 2013 at 10:19 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Veterans Memorial Arena was packed with fans on Friday night as the Senators celebrated the 40th year of professional hockey in Binghamton.

Jim Matthews is credited with bringing the sport to the city in 1973, and his family was honored this evening with a pre-game celebration.

Former players were also recognized prior to the game, along with those who have been with the team from the beginning.

The Parlor City has been home to five different teams over the years. They include; the Broome Dusters, the Binghamton Whalers, the Binghamton Rangers, the B.C. Icemen, and finally the Binghamton Senators.

The current franchise has been in play since 2002, and many people hope to see professional hockey stay local.

"We have a lot of assets in our community, but there's only 30 franchises in the entire world like this one and it has been here in Binghamton for many years," noted Senators' Executive Vice President Tom Mitchell.

Thousands of fans came dressed in jerseys and enjoyed $1.00 popcorn as an "olde time" special. Many people said that going to the games has become a tradition.

"I've been coming here since I was a little kid. My father and I used to come catch a game here and there and we're still here. It's just a lot of fun to have here in Binghamton and it's always a great game," said Mark Radzikowski of Owego.

Former players' jerseys were on display in the concourse on Friday in addition to other Binghamton hockey memorabilia.

The Senators wore special "Forty Years of Hockey" uniforms on the ice, which were auctioned off to a few lucky fans after the game against the Wilkes-Barre Penguins.