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The final pro hockey game at the Spectrum has been played.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

12/20 Wrapup; the latest news on the Phantoms' future is unpleasant

Imagine my surprise when I went to post information on what the Phantoms might be doing after this season, only to realize that I hadn't posted the official game recap or box score. Oops. I honestly thought I already posted these links -- sorry for the delay!

Here's the Phantoms' site game recap. And HERE is the link to the box score.

OK, now for the unhappy task of offering the latest news on where the Phantoms might be playing next season.

Turns out that they might not even be owned by the Flyers/Comcast-Spectacor, never mind playing anywhere near here.

Once again, we must turn to the SUBURBAN newspapers to get news on a PHILADELPHIA team. The Philly papers, apparently, couldn't give a rodent's posterior about reporting this information, but the papers from Delaware County, Bucks County, and south NJ all have articles.

I wish a GIANT BAH, HUMBUG on the corporate Grinches and Scrooges who are responsible for taking our team away from its loyal fan base. I hope they all get coal in their stockings. No, I take that back, since nothing's finalized yet.

What I REALLY hope for the Corporate Bigwigs is that their emotions in the aftermath of their decision-making are PRECISELY the same as the emotions of the Phantoms Fans who are impacted by their decisions. In other words, if they make us happy, may the results of their decisions make them happy. But if they break our hearts, well... what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, isn't it? I'd wager that we care about our team like the bigwigs care about their bankroll, so let the fates of the two be identical. Let the bigwigs' feelings, as they review the state of what THEY care about most, mirror those of us fans as we ponder the state of our team. May those feelings be duplicated right down to the last atom.

OK, now that I've gotten that out of my system for the moment, here is the newspaper coverage on the subject.

From the Delco Times:

Flyers Scoop: Hershey not so sweet

The relevant excerpt is as follows:

PHILADELPHIA - The Flyers have had had their minor league affiliate either in town with them or at the furthest 90 miles away in Hershey for nearly a quarter century.

That run is about to end.

Flyers president Peter Luukko said the team hasn't decided what to do with the Phantoms after this season, but it's almost a guarantee that there won't be minor league hockey in the Philadelphia area come next fall.

Luukko all but nixed the idea of the team moving to Atlantic City, N.J. as a temporary home until local investors could build a new arena for the Phantoms to play that would be relatively close to Philadelphia.

"We have several options at this point," Luukko said. "We could move the team, we could sell them, we could find another affiliate - we're still working it all out and probably won't have it all figured out until after the New Year."

With local investors in both Camden County, New Jersey and Allentown, Pa. trying to cut through political red tape to have arenas built that could house an American League team, it's a good bet that Comcast-Spectacor will sell the Phantoms to a prospective buyer (a company source said there are several potential buyers interested in purchasing the franchise), who would then move the team elsewhere.

Then, they would sign an affiliation agreement with one of the AHL cities that has independent ownership but might have a contract with another team expiring at the end of this season.

There are usually a handful of these situations that come about each year. Springfield, Mass. (Falcons) is one possibility for next season as their affiliation with Edmonton expires at the end of the season.

Hershey, which would be an ideal location, is locked into the Washington Capitals for one more season.

Ultimately, the Flyers would like to bring their affiliation back to the area, but Luukko said that possibility is at least four years down the road, if not longer.

Comcast-Spectacor forced themselves to make a decision of this ilk on the Phantoms when they announced in January plans for a multi-million dollar entertainment complex known as Philly Live! to be built between the Wachovia Center and where the Spectrum now sits.

They later announced the Spectrum would be razed as part of the project to make room for a posh hotel.

Luukko also said locations such as Trenton, N.J. or the Wachovia Center itself were not feasible destinations for the Phantoms, even on a short-term basis.

From the Courier Post:

Phantoms' future murky

I was going to quote the relevant portion of the above article, but there ISN'T one. The only Phantoms-related content it has, at the moment, is its title. I emailed the editors to request that they either restore the edited-out content about the Phantoms' future, or create a new article with the Phantoms-related information in it. We'll see if they take me up on either of those suggestions; if they do, I'll update this post accordingly.


Phantoms' affiliation with Flyers may end

Here is the relevant excerpt:

PHILADELPHIA — For years, the Flyers have enjoyed a productive and convenient relationship with their American Hockey League affiliate, the Phantoms.

The Phantoms have won two Calder Cups in their 12-year tenure in Philly and developed many Flyers prospects along the way. But there's a chance that connection could radically change when this season concludes.

With the Wachovia Spectrum scheduled for demolition next year, it was already known that the Phantoms probably would not be playing in Philadelphia in the future.

Tuesday night, Flyers president Peter Luukko disclosed that there's a good possibility the Phantoms will be sold and relocated to another city — such as Springfield, Mass. (the Falcons' contract with the Edmonton Oilers runs out this season) — while the Flyers maintain control of their players.

Such a move would allow Comcast-Spectacor to possibly wait several years to build a new arena nearby in places such as Allentown or Camden.

The Flyers have had an affiliate with the AHL since 1984-85 when they began an association with the Hershey Bears. The Flyers then moved their AHL connection to Philadelphia when they started the Phantoms in the 1996-97 season.

Luukko ruled out Atlantic City, Trenton and the Wachovia Center as possible temporary homes for the Phantoms.

I have a sick feeling that we're going to end up with no Phantoms, no Spectrum, and even then Philly Live! Dead. will be DOA because of lack of ability to secure funding to even get started. Not that I give a flying [reproductive act] about the fate of Philly Live! Dead., mind you -- I wish I'd never heard of it. But I just get this feeling that we fans are going to lose something we care about, for a project that will never end up seeing the light of day.

But even if Philly Live! Dead. dies on the vine, God forbid that The Greedy Powers-That-Be should spare the Spectrum and leave the Phantoms team where it is. That would be too big of a loss of face for the Corporate Bigwigs. So they'll continue with their plans, unabated, as if nothing's amiss -- until we end up with a big hole in the ground or an extra-large parking lot at Broad and Pattison as a testament to their bull-headedness.

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