It was oh-so-close but it wasn't meant to be as the Binghamton Black Bears came within seconds of advancing to the quarterfinals in the Commissioner's Cup Playoffs. After seven seasons of no playoffs, the Black Bears turned it around in their inaugural year.

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But before we look forward, let's look back. After the Devils scurried out of town a year early, Binghamton was left in limbo. For a while, it looked like there wouldn't be professional hockey in Binghamton for the 2021-2022 season.

That's when Andreas Johansson stepped in and helped to bring excitement back to the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena. Johansson is the owner of the Watertown Wolves in the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL) and he wanted to bring another team to Binghamton.

We didn't really know what to expect but it immediately became apparent that this new team was all about our community. When the Devils and Senators were here, the players would rather be in New Jersey or Ottawa.

OUR players LOVED to be in OUR town and they played like it from the start. The Black Bears finished 4th in the FPHL and played the Danbury Hat Tricks in the first round. On Monday, April 18th, Tyson Kirkby had the game-winning goal in OT for a 1-0 lead in the best of three series.

Binghamton Black Bears Playoff Game-Winning Goal

Game two was on Tuesday, April 19th, and the Black Bears had a 4-3 lead when Danbury scored a goal with 13 seconds left in regulation. The Hat Tricks won it with a power-play goal in OT to force the deciding game.

The Black Bears were down 4-1 in game three and got it to within one goal before Danbury converted an empty-netter for a 5-3 victory. The season has come to an end but next year promises to be even brighter.

There was a vibe at the Visions Veterans Memorial Arena that we hadn't felt since the 2011 season when the Binghamton Senators won the Calder Cup. Who can forget the goalie fight seen around the country between Binghamton and Delaware?

Binghamton Black Bears Goalie Fight With Delaware Thunder

It's been said that you need to get them young if you want to make them fans of your team. The Binghamton Black Bears did that by offering free season tickets to all the youngsters that played with the Southern Tier Hockey Association, the Ice House Hawks, or the Binghamton Blizzards.

The Black Bears even invited the Ice House Hawks to join them for practice and they mic'd up 8-year-old Cullen. It looks like he is having some fun.

Ice House Hawks Skate With The Binghamton Black Bears

On a slightly selfish note, I want to also throw in the Teddy Bear Toss with the Binghamton Black Bears with all the stuffed animals going to the Broome County Child Advocacy Center's Crime Victims Assistance Center. This was a fun video to make.

Binghamton Black Bears Teddy Bear Toss

It was a great year both on and off the ice and I can't wait until next year. As year one comes to an end, let's look back at how it all began with the Binghamton Black Bears Open House on Saturday, August 7th, 2021.

Binghamton Black Bears Open House

The Broome-Binghamton Dusters

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