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Potential move of AHL teams puts future of hockey in Binghamton in question

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(WBNG) -- The future of hockey in Binghamton is in question.

According to Visions Federal Credit Union Veterans Memorial Arena management, there is a dispute between the Binghamton Devils local ownership group and the New Jersey Devils.

The Binghamton Devils are playing the current American Hockey League season in Newark due to the pandemic.

The current agreement between the New Jersey Devils and the Binghamton ownership group is for five years, with the agreement ending following the 2021-22 season.

Arena manager Chris Marion said they were notified of the dispute earlier this week.

"We're a third party to that so we don't have a lot of information other than we operate the building, but those two organizations have some type of dispute that seems to put into question the placement of the AHL affiliate here," said Marion.

Additional information supports the news of a potential move in AHL teams.

A trademark was filed by current Utica Comets President Robert Esche on April 5, 2021 for the Utica Devils.

The file, found on the United States Patent and Trademark Office website requested a number of items carrying the Utica Devils trademark ranging from clothing and toy merchandise to entertainment services.

According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, the Comets contract with Vancouver (extension signed in 2018) has an opt-out following this season.

12 Sports reached out to the county, which provided the following statement on behalf of Marion:

Arena management was notified this week of a dispute between the Binghamton Devils local ownership group and the New Jersey Devils regarding the placement of their affiliate in Binghamton. As a third party to the agreement between the two private businesses, we do not have any further details to announced. The Arena and Binghamton have been home to AHL hockey for nearly 50 years and our facility stands ready to be a home for professional hockey going forward. We will do anything to be helpful.

12 Sports also reached out to the AHL, which responded saying:

"The league has not received any request from the New Jersey Devils to move their AHL franchise."

The AHL also said it had not received any request from Utica and had no comment to provide.

"We've been ready to host AHL hockey. We could be doing it right now," said Marion. "Obviously, they chose to play the season in Newark. There is nothing as it relates to the facility that would keep us from hosting hockey with anyone...that's what's really disappointing for us."

Marion said they have not been given any indication when this dispute could be resolved, since they are a third party to the situation.

He added Arena management is confident they would be able to attract a professional hockey team if New Jersey moves its AHL team.

This is a developing story. Stay with 12 News for more information.

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