Boardwalk Hall will host professional ice hockey again in the 2013-14 season.
The Albany Devils of the American Hockey League will host four games in the historic Atlantic City venue next season, with the first one scheduled for January.
“The games in Atlantic City have been a great way to bring some future Devils players to New Jersey in a unique, fan-friendly environment,” Albany Devils general manager Chris Lamoriello said Friday in a statement announcing the four games.
Albany is the AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils. The AHL consists of 30 teams in Canada and the United States that serve as the primary minor-league affiliates of their NHL organizations.
Albany is bringing its club to Atlantic City for the third time.
Albany played five games at Boardwalk Hall during the 2010-11 season and four more during the 2012-13 season. In January 2012, Boardwalk Hall hosted the AHL All-Star Game.
“The Devils like it,” Greg Tesone, general manager of Boardwalk Hall, said in a phone interview. “They like the exposure in South Jersey. It helps their efforts in marketing the parent club as New Jersey’s team. They’re bringing the minor-league down here, and (they) market hockey down here. It’s a win-win for both of us.”
Albany will start its series of games in Atlantic City on Sunday, Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. against the Hershey Bears of the Washington Capitals organization. The Devils and Bears will play at Boardwalk Hall again on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.
Albany will then play a pair of games against the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization. Those games are scheduled for Saturday, March 1 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 23 at 4 p.m.
Tickets for the full four-game package will cost $59-$99 apiece and will go on sale next Friday, Aug. 30, at Boardwalk Hall’s box office and through Ticketmaster. Tickets for individual games will range from $16 to $26 and go on sale Sept. 16.
Unlike in the past, the Devils will not play against the Philadelphia Flyers’ top affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. Due to the complexity of the schedule, it gets difficult trying to schedule neutral site games, Tesone said.
“We would have liked to have had the Phantoms back in, but the scheduling was too complicated,” he said.
Tesone said these four Albany games represent a huge opportunity for Boardwalk Hall. With the Trenton Titans of the ECHL having ceased operations, New Jersey no longer has a professional minor-league club.
Atlantic City hasn’t had a permanent professional team playing in Boardwalk Hall since the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies were there from 2001-05. The Bullies, who played in the ECHL, which is considered one level below the AHL, failed to draw steady, big crowds in Atlantic City and moved to Stockton, Calif., where they play as the Stockton Thunder.
“A part of the reason in doing this is keeping the game fresh in everyone’s mind and to keep the market viable,” Tesone said. “Nobody has stepped up yet to bring a team to the area (full time).
“Now with Trenton not in the mix anymore, we hope to see better attendance. This might put us in a situation where we could push to bring something back (on a permanent basis).”
Tesone said Albany Devils games in Boardwalk Hall have become something of a tradition.
“We want to diversify the entertainment down here, and the Devils add to it,” Tesone said. “We know we’ve gotten a great response from the Bears and Scranton fans, and the local support has been great as well. We’re glad to have them back.”
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