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Getting to know Utica

by Tyson Giuriato / Vancouver Canucks
Handshakes, Slap Shot and Dunder Mifflin.

The Vancouver Canucks announced Friday morning that Utica, New York, will be the home of the club’s American Hockey League affiliate for the 2013-14 season.

This isn’t the first time the Canucks have had their top affiliate in the state of New York. The Rochester Americans were the Canucks AHL affiliate from 1970 through 1972, while the Syracuse Crunch were the main development team for the Canucks from 1994 to 2000.

What do we know about Utica?

Not much, at this point. But, we took to Google and did some research and here are some things we found:

-Utica holds nicknames as the “Handshake City," “Renaissance City” and “The City of Possibilities," while also being known as the “the Pent-up City” in the early 19th century and “Sin City” in the 1950s do to the amount of organized crime in the city during that time.

-As of 2010, the population of Utica is 62,235. In the 1930s through 1960s, the city had a population over 100,000.

-Utica neighbours the city of Rome, NY, which is the home of Canucks forward Tom Sestito.

-Utica will be the sixth AHL team in the state of New York, along with the Adirondack Phantoms, Albany Devils, Binghamton Senators, Rochester Americans and Syracuse Crunch.

-The closest AHL team to Utica is the Syracuse Crunch, which is an 88 km drive. The furthest team is the Abbotsford Heat, which is about 4,640 km away.

-The team will play out of the Utica Memorial Auditorium, which was built in 1959. The “Aud” holds 4,000 screaming spectators for hockey games, BUT, the coolest thing about the rink, is that scenes from the movie Slap Shot were filmed there.

-Utica previously had an AHL team from 1987 to 1993 called the Utica Devils, an affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. The Devils moved to Saint John in 1993 and became the Flames, before moving to Omaha in 2005, Quad City in 2007 and then to Abbotsford in 2009.

-The Utica Devils were coached by the legendary Herb Brooks for one season and featured players such as Martin Brodeur, Bill Guerin and Bobby Holik.

-Superintendent Chalmers from The Simpsons is from Utica. So is Will Smith, no, not the actor, the defensive end for the New Orleans Saints.

-On the hit TV show The Office, Dunder Mifflin Paper Company has a branch in Utica. Stanley once tried to transfer there for a higher salary.

-The union suit, a type of full-body underwear that has a flap in the rear, was invented in Utica in 1868.

-Utica is home to an 80 acre zoo that was started in 1909 with three fallow deer. Now the zoo has over 200 animals.

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