Yesterday was the last Albany River Rat’s night at the Times Union Center. I can’t believe in less than a month 24 years of AHL hockey in Albany will be over.
The River Rats were the franchise that was here originally, well before my time. Orginally affiliated with the New Jersey Devils, they switched affiliations to the Carolina Hurricaines (which started life as the New England/Hartford Whalers – which has, I may add, had the coolest logo). When they were sold to a group of investors to be closer to the home team the New Jersey Devils moved their franchise from Lowell Massachusetts to Albany (about 2 1/2 short hours from Newark) to be closer to their home turf. This brought some upgrades to the Times Union Center including NHL quality locker rooms.
So, you may ask, what does this have to do with my becoming a NJ Devils fan. Well, when I moved out here, my friend who grew up going to the Rats (and became a NJ Devils fan through those same Rats games) told me about hockey. Not being from a town that appreciated hockey (well, at least Dollar Bill Wirtz didn’t appreciate hockey), I didn’t get to see many games – since they were not broadcast on television until Rockey Wirtz took over the team. I’m a bit bitter about this, but that’s ok.
It was a good night. I, of course, wore my Martin Brodeur jersey. And I ran into my friend and was able to hear some good news.