Comets captain Bancks announces retirement

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UTICA — Utica Comets captain Carter Bancks has announced his retirement from professional hockey after 11 seasons in the AHL.

Bancks, who has served as captain of the Comets for the past four seasons, split his career between Utica and Abbotsford (2009-14), playing in Utica for the past six years. During his career, he scored 59 goals and collected 113 assists for a total of 172 points. In the 2015-16 season with the Comets, he tied for second most points on the team and played in all of the team’s 76 games – the only player to do so.

The 31-year-old Bancks received numerous accolades during his time in Utica; Man of the Year twice (2015-16 and 2019-20), the 2015-16 Tom McVie award as the Most Valuable Player and the 2019-20 Thomas M. Lindsey award for exceptional community service. His leadership qualities led to then Comets head coach Travis Green naming him the fourth captain in team history in advance of the 2016-17 season.

“I want to congratulate Carter Bancks on the end his hockey career and wish him the best of luck in the start of the next chapter in his life,” said Green, now head coach of the Vancouver Canucks. “He was a joy to coach, a great teammate and a great example of what it meant to be a Utica Comet. Not only did he help a lot of teammates along the way, but he also helped his coaches as well. He was a good player and a tremendous leader who played with a level of courage, passion, and a love of the game that was unmatched.  I feel lucky to have been able to coach Carter for the years I did.”

“Carter has a special place in the hearts of both the Comet and Canuck organizations,” said Comets general manager Ryan Johnson. “He has embodied everything you would want in a player and a person his entire career, and a Comet lineup just won’t look right without him in it. He was our captain, our culture carrier, and our truest example of a professional every single day. I will miss him as a player, but even more so as a person. It was an emotional day to hear this from him, but he knows he will be leaned on from afar as he made us all better at what we do. I know we all feel fortunate to be a part of his hockey journey. I wish he and Lauren all the best in the next chapter of their lives together.”

“I will truly miss Carter,” said Comets head coach Trent Cull. “He was such a good leader for our team and just a great guy for staff and players to be around every day, as well as a fantastic professional that always knew what to say or do to inspire his teammates. He was instrumental in creating the culture that is in Utica today, and we will all miss our favorite Captain here in Utica.”

“It was an honor to have Carter as a leader both on and off the ice for the past seven years,” said Comets president Robert Esche. “He truly embodies what it means to be a Comet, how to embrace our Culture, and how to hand your jersey off to future generations better than how you received it.”

The Comets are slated to begin their abbreviated season on Feb. 5.

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