New Jersey Devils Make Terrible Decision To Move From Binghamton

Head coach Mark Dennehy of the Binghamton Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Head coach Mark Dennehy of the Binghamton Devils (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The New Jersey Devils brass hasn’t made great decisions as of late. There have been some bad draft picks (although the last few have been pretty darn good), the trades and free agent signings haven’t worked out, and the team on the ice is downright terrible. When they are looking to make a move to improve the NHL roster, it always ends up in a losing effort. Whether it’s P.K. Subban, Andreas Johnsson, Nikita Gusev, or Ryan Murray, the Devils have failed to make moves that make the team better. Still, those decisions pale in comparison to the one the Devils made last week.

The Devils will move their AHL team again. It was confirmed Tuesday by the Binghamton Devils themselves with a statement about refunds. The statement would go into why they think the team is worthy of hockey while seemingly sending a dig at their soon-to-be-former parent company.

"To keep professional hockey alive in Binghamton, we are currently exploring all of our options. We have an exceptional geographic location and a building full of the required amenities and features to accommodate a professional hockey team."

The Devils have been around for close to four decades, and they are going on their ninth AHL team. They started with the Wichita Wind of the CHL but moved to Maine when their team turned into an AHL team the very next season. Then, in 1987, they moved to Utica (hold that thought). After six years there, they spent a season in the IHL with the Cincinnati Cyclones. The next season, the Devils moved to Albany and enjoyed their longest partnership. They were the River Rats for the next 13 seasons, which included all the Stanley Cup seasons.

This is where things get weird. The Devils left Albany for Lowell. Then, just four seasons later, they left Lowell to go back to Albany. The way they left was super shady. There was no press conference where reporters could ask questions about the decision. There was a news release with some canned quotes from Lou Lamoriello. Once again, an AHL city was spurned for another. This time, the Devils were returning to a city that was not very happy with them since they already left them once.

More from Pucks and Pitchforks

We all know how that ended. The Devils left Albany again. According to the Times Union, Binghamton paid the Devils $2 million to move again. The report said the Devils were operating their AHL team at a loss because of a lack of attendance, but that is partly the Devils fault. They had to know moving to Albany after already leaving once with little fanfare had to be a terrible idea.

The fans in Binghamton were embracing the Devils. The team was young, there were incredibly likable players at every position, and there were some interesting things happening before the coronavirus pandemic. Obviously, the team moved to Newark for this season due to that pandemic, but people in Binghamton were excited to see them come back next season. Now, that’s not happening.

Reports say the Devils are moving back to Utica. It’s been a long time since the team left, and they’ve been the affiliate of the Canucks for a while. Now, they will get a new AHL team. The Devils will once again try to build a fanbase despite doing it already in Binghamton. Now, that fanbase is going to give up on this team. A fanbase that would follow this team for the next decade or two is now moving on mad at the franchise. They went from fans to literally hating this team. It’s a bad move by ownership in a season where the fans have plenty to hate.