By Ryan J. Harr
As the Rochester Americans are continuing to prepare for the upcoming 2017-18 season, the Amerks players, coaches and staff were able to meet some of the team’s top fans over the course of the last few days. Tuesday afternoon, select players and coaches joined members of the front office to deliver season tickets to various locations throughout the Rochester community. The following night, the Amerks invaded The Distillery for a special meet and greet with the fans at the annual Meet the Players Party.
Jaden Locanon and Linda Greer each called last night’s event an awesome experience.
“Meeting Justin Bailey tonight was really cool,” said the seven-year old Locanon. “Justin is my favorite player on the Amerks. It was neat to meet and get to talk to some of the other players but Bailey will always be my favorite.”
WATCH: MEET THE PLAYERS PARTY
“I really enjoyed getting to talk to Linus Ullmark,” Greer, a longtime Amerks season ticket holder, said. “He is such an outgoing guy and very easy to talk to. It is cool to see how far he has developed over the last few seasons. You can tell his hard work is really starting to pay off. I am really looking forward to the start of the upcoming season as I am sure the rest of the Amerks are.”
As the players went throughout the restaurant saying hello and signing autographs, it was not only exciting for those in attendance, but also for those wearing their own last name on the back of their jersey.
“It is always nice to meet the fans,” said veteran forward Kevin Porter. “The fans are the ones who will be at the games all year supporting us and cheering us on. That is important to us players, so for us to come out and say hello, it is a fun way to say thank you.”
Of the current roster, there are several changes from last year’s players but newcomer Kyle Criscuolo was surprised by the outcome of the support he and the team received despite only being in Rochester for a few weeks.
“It is awesome to see how crowded the place was. The fans are very excited for the upcoming season, as we are too, but it was great to get to know some of the fans who will be supporting us all season long.”
Prior to Wednesday’s Meet the Players event, CooperVision, Inc., located in Henrietta, and Lake Beverage were among the stops during Tuesday’s season ticket delivery.
WATCH: AMERKS SEASON TICKET DELIVERY
“We have been season ticket holders for many, many years,” said Pam Bovenzi, Executive Assistant at Coopervision. “Our former vice president was a huge hockey fan so he thought it would be a good idea for us to get season tickets in the past. We have been buying them ever since.”
“I post the dates of when our tickets can be used and it is a first-come, first served basis on who gets the tickets. Our employees sign up very quickly for the tickets and they go very fast, but getting the season tickets is easily a no-brainer to reward our employees.”
“The Amerks have been here in the past but each time they come here, the staff and I get excited,” said Malorie Osypian, senior graphic designer at Lake Beverage. “It is neat to meet the players and see them up close compared to seeing them at the game with their equipment on.”
“As a hockey fan myself, I always enjoy going to the Amerks games,” added Osypian. “They are fun and I enjoy the atmosphere. And now I can say to the people I attend the games with, I know and met that player because he came to my work!”
While making stops to the local businesses and meeting with fans of the Amerks, it was a different way to thank the fans for their support prior to Friday’s opening of the 2017-18 campaign.
“It is a good to get out in the community,” said Amerks forward Daniel Muzito-Bagenda. “It is a different way to interact with the fans while getting to know them a little bit. They get to see who we are besides just hockey players and it’s important for us to get to know our fans on a personal level.”