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Binghamton Celebrates 40 Years of Hockey Tonight

Remember the bumper stickers, ‘Hockey Town USA’?

40 years ago, that’s when those bumper stickers first emerged as Binghamton was thrust into the world of professional hockey, with the Brown and Gold of the Broome Dusters.

The Broome Dusters were born in 1973, and played in the old North American Hockey League. And those were the days of exciting Binghamton, bench clearing-brawl, hockey. I just loved it when the gloves came off! And off they came… often!
And the fans got into the action as well, throwing armrests from the seats onto the ice and at, opposing players. All the while echoing  colorful language cliche’s and phraseology at the opposition,  who had invaded ‘Our Barn!’  Boy, that was ‘Old Time Hockey!’

The initial years saw over 4200 frenzied fans nightly, rooting for such fan favorites as Rod Bloomfield, Randy MacGregor, and Kenny Holland. The Dusters just missed the playoffs the first year in the NAHL, but ended up making it to the finals in the following year, being swept by the Johnstown Jets.

Remember the movie ‘Slapshot’ with Paul Newman? Lots of people have said for years that part of that movie was shot in Binghamton, (I was actually one of them.)  I stand corrected! In an article in today’s Press and Sun Bulletin, The Broome Veterans Arena was not used in the movie, as it was deemed to be ‘Too New.’

Many scenes of the movie were shot in Syracuse and Utica. And Roddy Bloomfield was the skating double for Paul Newman, who played, Reggie Dunlop,  the aging player-coach of the Charlestown Chiefs hockey team in the fictional Federal League.
And those Chiefs Uni’s looked amazingly similar to the Dusters, didn’t they?
I would like to say ‘Thank You,’ to the late Jim Matthews, for having the foresight to putting and keeping Binghamton Hockey, on the map!
Tonight the B-Sens are home versus Scranton Wilkes-Bare, as the community celebrates “40 Years of Hockey Night” presented by Matthews Auto.    The first 2,500 fans through the gate as doors open at 6 p.m. that night will receive a commemorative poster featuring the logos of each of Binghamton’s five professional teams.

Can you name all five teams? Who were your favorite players to skate in Binghamton?

Are you ready for ‘OLD TIME HOCKEY?’

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