The Utica Comets announced they have re-signed captain Ryan Schmelzer, forward Samuel Laberge, and goaltender Mareks Mitens.
The Utica Comets are bringing three players back next season that were a part of last season’s Eastern Conference regular-season champion team, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The captain of last season’s Comets team, Ryan Schmelzer, received a two-year AHL contract extension per general manager Dan MacKinnon. Last season was Schmelzer’s fifth professional season having previously played for the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL and Binghamton Devils of the American Hockey League. He scored eighteen goals for the Comets in 2021-22.
Forward Samuel Laberge began his 2021-22 season with the Adirondack Thunder of the ECHL and was brought up to the Comets during the season. His hard-nosed gritty play earned him a spot in Utica that he would keep for the rest of the season, playing fifty-three games for the team. Laberge has played for three ECHL teams and two AHL teams in his five-season professional career. The terms of his contract were not disclosed.
Like Laberge, goaltender Mareks Mitens started the 2021-22 season with the Adirondack Thunder and was recalled to the team due to injuries. Mitens arrived on the scene in December when the Comets lost goaltenders Nico Daws and Akira Schmid due to injury and recall to the New Jersey Devils. He “held down the fort” for approximately one month until Schmid was returned to Utica. The terms of Mitens contract were not disclosed.
Comets also announce the 2022-23 season-opening date.
The Utica Comets have also announced that Monday, October 17th, 2022 will be the date they open their 2022-23 season. Each AHL team will play seventy-two games in 2022-23, and standings will also be determined by points next season as opposed to points percentage. The full 2022-23 schedule will be released on a date to be determined.