The Binghamton Senators honored the late Jim Matthews tonight before their home game with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena.  Matthews brought professional hockey to Binghamton in 1973 and established the Broome Dusters who played in the North American Hockey League.

Matthews, who owned a local car dealership and numerous other businesses over the years, operated what was widely regarded in hockey circles as the finest minor league franchise in all of professional hockey.  His players drove new Duster automobiles and players from other teams actively pursued the chance to play for his team when their contracts were up.

His teams packed the Veterans Memorial Arena and tickets became treasured possessions.  His players made hundreds of personal appearances at schools and organizations to help promote the game.  The bond his team developed with fans and the Broome Duster Booster Club helped to firmly entrench the sport in this community.

The Dusters played in the North American Hockey League for five seasons and then joined the American Hockey League where the franchise competes today.  Matthews later sold the franchise after a season in the AHL but remained a staunch supporter of the team and the sport in the area.

Matthews family, friends and former players have turned out for the night.  The Senators and the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame dedicated a memorial plaque in his honor.  The plaque is hung in the Binghamton Hockey Hall of Fame display area near his Hall of Fame award received as one of the Hall's first inductees.

WNBF News/ Roger Neel Photo