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State assemblywoman Pam Hunter, Crunch owner Howard Dolgon, incoming Onondaga County executive Ryan McMahon and SMG general manager Matt Hollander announce the Crunch's new lease extension at the Onondaga County War Memorial Friday.

SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Crunch signed a long-term deal to remain in the Onondaga County War Memorial.

Crunch owner Howard Dolgon announced Friday a 12-year extension at a press conference alongside state Assemblywoman Pam Hunter (D-Syracuse), incoming Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and SMG General Manager Matt Hollander.

The Crunch had six years left on their previous deal, which is being replaced by a new one which lasts through 2029-30. The War Memorial is finishing up upgrades which include suites, a new scoreboard, an improved marquee and more.

"We invest yearly, but we weren't going to invest $8.5 million of the public's money without a long-term commitment," McMahon said. "We always knew the Crunch wanted to be here. We have the best fans in hockey, as Howard tells me all the time. This is about the public and the fans, and making sure we all can be friends for another 12 years."

"At least," Dolgon chimed in.

Syracuse, which has gone 1-1 on the road to start the season, opens its 25th home slate by hosting Charlotte Saturday night.

For Dolgon, it was a long process to renegotiate the contract and it just happened to be signed one day before the home opener.

"We would've liked to not get the agreement done the eve of, but there's a lot of moving parts," Dolgon said. "Both parties wanted to make sure that they had .. all the t's crossed and the i's dotted. When you're looking at a 12-year commitment, we wanted to make sure it was right and they wanted to make sure it was right and fair."

Other notes from Friday:

* Dolgon said at the press conference the team and county were closer to a deal for naming rights at the Onondaga County War Memorial.

Last month Dolgon said the process was down to three candidates. Now the focus is on one partner.

"We feel fairly far with one potential partner. ... I don't want to get too optimistic, but there is some optimism for sure," Dolgon said.

* The Crunch announced Gabriel Dumont would become the 21st full-time captain in team history.

Dumont, 28, is in his third year in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization. The Quebec native posted 10 goals and 23 assists in 40 games with Syracuse.

Andy Andreoff, Cameron Gaunce, Michael Bournival and Kevin Lynch will serves as alternate captains.

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Sports writer Jeremy Houghtaling can be reached at 315-282-2256 or at jeremy.houghtaling@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenHough.

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