UTICA — The Utica Comets on Saturday, Nov. 24 unveiled a bronze, life-size statue of four Clinton Comets who have remained in the area since their playing days and have “served as unwavering ambassadors of the area’s Comet Culture,” team President Robert Esche announced.
The former players to be depicted are Dave Armstrong, Jack Kane, Pierre Prevost and Borden Smith. The statue also features a plaque in remembrance of Ian Anderson, the fifth in the group, who passed away in November 2013.
The team has been searching for a way to honor and memorialize the five pillars responsible for growing the grassroots of hockey in the Mohawk Valley, Esche noted. Art of Bronze, based out of Los Angeles, Calif., was commissioned for the project, which took over five months to complete.
The piece weighs over 900 pounds. The process began earlier this summer with a 360-degree photoshoot at the Utica Aud, 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 venue 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,” the team announced. “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 Esche, “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 statue was unveiled in a ceremony at 4 p.m. out on the plaza, and fans were encouraged to attend. Immediately following the ceremony, the Comets held their annual tree lighting, complete with Santa Claus.