If one word could describe the atmosphere of the May 23rd press conference at Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, it would be “hopeful”. Tom Mitchell, the Executive Vice President of Operations of the Binghamton Senators, noticed the change in spirits hours before the official announcement, which introduced Luke Richardson as the new head coach.
During his opening comments, Mitchell reflected on his lengthy hockey tenure in the city of Binghamton. “I thought this morning, ‘Something’s different,’ and it finally dawned on me what it was. I’m more optimistic about the future of the American Hockey League in Binghamton than I have ever.”
Shortly before passing the floor to Tim Murray, the Assistant General Manager of the Ottawa Senators, Mitchell also noted that the Binghamton Senators have extended their relationship with Ottawa and are in the midst of working out a new lease with the county. “It’s not always been the case, but I can tell you that everybody is on the same page,” Mitchell said. “Like I said, that hasn’t always been the case, but it is now.”
Murray’s thoughts on Richardson as the new head coach also carried a bright message. “We’ve had good coaches here before, but I don’t know if I’ve been this excited about a guy in the past,” he said. “With his experience as a National Hockey League player and as an assistant coach in Ottawa, and the relationship he’s had with the Ottawa Senators for the last 3 or 4 years, I think he’s a great choice.”
Murray additionally praised Richardson’s knowledge of the organization, a trait which made him the perfect fit for the job. “I think I could’ve interviewed 100 candidates and I would’ve come away that he was the best guy for the job,” said Murray.
When Richardson addressed the media for the first (official) time as head coach of the Binghamton Senators, he thanked the Ottawa Senators for giving him his start in coaching at such a young age and expressed his enthusiasm for being back on the bench. “I enjoy working with young players and giving them my knowledge,” said the new head coach, “and trying to push them to believe in themselves. To bring the best out in themselves. I think that’s what this league is all about.”
The optimism of the press conference shows promise in getting the team back on track next season. Richardson believes that “it’ll be some exciting hockey to watch here for sure,” and when a member of the media asked if the B-Sens would win the Calder Cup again next year, the revived attitude of the organization could be summed up in Mitchell’s swift and confident reply: “Absolutely.”