HISTORY OF THE ALBANY DEVILS
The Albany Devils are a professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League (AHL), founded in 2010. The top AHL affiliate of the National Hockey League (NHL)’s New Jersey Devils, the team has as its home the Times Union Center in Albany, New York. This is the second time the New Jersey Devils have been affiliated with an Albany-based AHL team; from 1993 to 2006, the Devils used the Albany River Rats as their top minor league team.
On February 10, 2010, Albany River Rats owner Walter Robb sold his team to Michael Kahn. It was then announced that the River Rats would begin playing the 2010–11 season as the Charlotte Checkers. Robb, however, as well as members of the River Rats and Times Union Center’s front office, had already begun looking for an American Hockey League team to replace the River Rats.
On April 26, 2010, the New Jersey Devils sent Albany County a letter of intent to relocate to Albany, with a five-year commitment, on the grounds that the arena had specific renovations made. New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello, in a letter to the members of the Lowell Devils Booster Club, stated that changes presented in the lease with Lowell made it “financially impossible” to stay.
On May 10, 2010, the county legislature voted 35–2 in favor of a $1.6 million upgrade to the facility to be spent on a new scoreboard, ribbon board advertising, and exterior lighting.
On June 10, 2010, the New Jersey Devils officially announced on their website that they were moving the Lowell Devils to the Times Union Center in Albany, New York beginning with the 2010–11 AHL season to play as the Albany Devils., playing 36 of their 40 home games in Albany. The other four home games will be played in Atlantic City, New Jersey, at Boardwalk Hall.
Soon after that, on June 17, 2010, the New Jersey Devils announced they had promoted John MacLean to fill their head coaching vacancy. MacLean had been the head coach of the Lowell Devils during the 2009–10 season.
On August 10, 2010, it was announced that Rick Kowalsky was named head coach of the team, with former New Jersey Devils defenceman Tommy Albelin being named the assistant coach.
On December 28, 2013, the Devils achieved six consecutive wins at home, a franchise record, in front of a 4,566-person crowd at the Times Union Center.
On April 4, 2016, the Times Union Center and its managing group SMG announced they had reached an agreement with the New Jersey Devils to extend the lease of its AHL affiliate through the 2018–19 season. However, on January 25, 2017, it was reported that the Albany Devils would relocate to replace the departing Binghamton Senators in Binghamton, New York, in the 2017–18 season. The Binghamton Devils were announced on January 31. At the time of the announcement, the Albany Devils were drawing the lowest average attendance in the league.