I don’t remember a lot about my college graduation ceremony, but I do remember that right after I walked across the stage to receive my Utica College diploma, I was trying to find friends in the bleachers.
I wasn’t having a lot of luck, and was probably staggering around and holding up the line until my friend Kristen — who I walked in with and who was right behind me — grabbed me by the shoulders.
The ceremony was at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. Instead of sneaking onto the floor to see my friends graduate, I was one of the people in the caps and gowns.
We went to hockey games, first the Utica Devils of the American Hockey League, then the series of lower minor-league teams that followed, including the time I missed meeting Gordie Howe.
And this is where I make the obligatory “A scene from ‘Slap Shot’ was shot in the Aud” reference, complete with video.
Both Utica College and the Aud have changed a lot in the 23 years since I graduated. For one thing, the college is now fully independent from Syracuse University (my degree is technically from Syracuse, and the school used to use that in recruiting) and the sign at the entrance now says it was “founded” by SU as opposed to be “of” it.
There are dorms where there used to be grassy areas where we played touch football, more programs and new academic buildings and facilities, including radio and television facilities that make this radio/TV major very jealous.leaders for their home games in the Aud. The AHL is back, too, thanks to the arrival of the Utica Comets.
I haven’t been back to the Aud in years, but if I did, I probably wouldn’t recognize it based on the renovations going on there, and I learned today that the building is even going to have a new name.
Henceforth, the building will officially be the Adirondack Bank Center at Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Yes, it’s a mouthful, and I really, really want to hate it. But then I realized that this is the way of the world, and the $2 million can’t hurt.
However, what really made me feel better is the realization that when people talk about the arena, whether it’s for a hockey game, UC graduation or something else, no one will actually call it the Adirondack Bank Center.
It will always be “the Aud.”
(Top photo from Wikipedia by Max13902)