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

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Phantoms' new owners ink a lease with Glens Falls

We interrupt this playoff coverage to report something semi-concrete about the future of the Phantoms franchise.

Glens Falls Lands AHL Team

The salient points:

- If Glens Falls has 2500 subscriptions by the end of this month, they are guaranteed to have the franchise

- They have less than half that number of subscriptions as of tonight

- The contract includes an "out" clause for the Brooks Group to back out if the number of subscribers falls short

Hence, I say "semi-concrete". Heck, the AHL's Board of Governors has yet to finalize their approval of the sale of the team, and as Brooks Group owns part of the Penguins franchise, that could translate into a conflict of interest. In that case, the league could vote down the sale.

Anyway... here is the actual article.

Glens Falls Lands AHL Team

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3-Year Lease Has Ticket Stipulation

GLENS FALLS -- For the first time since the Adirondack Red Wings left town in 1999, the city of Glens Falls is back in the American Hockey League. The Philadelphia Phantoms signed a three year lease Wednesday evening to move their AHL franchise to the Glens Falls Civic Center. But the fine print on the contract says that if 2,500 season tickets are not sold by Tuesday, then the Phantoms can back out of the deal.

As of Wednesday night, the GFCC wasn't quite halfway to that lofty threshold. But the number of tickets sold seems to be quite pliable, "If we get 25-hundred we're guaranteed to bring the team (to Glens Falls). If we get a little under that we'll make a decision whether we do it this year or not", says Phantoms owner Rob Brooks. He also added that there is still a chance the franchise would be dormant this coming season.

Senator Chuck Schumer, who has been an advocate of the move for months, says, "This is great news, not only for the Glens Falls area where it will be an economic boost to the city, but to a great hockey rivalry that will occur along the Hudson River between the River Rats and the new Glens Falls team".

During its heyday in the 1990's, the Glens Falls-Albany AHL rivalry regularly played to large crowds, both at the Civic Center and at the then named Knickerbocker Arena. Since the Red Wings left town a decade ago the River Rats have badly missed their "Northway Rival" in terms of ticket sales.

Glens Falls was home to the Adirondack Red Wings from 1979 until 1999, during which time the franchise won four Calder Cups and typically enjoyed tremendous community support.

The Phantoms need a new home since their facility in Philadelphia, The Spectrum, is destined for the wrecking ball. There's no word yet whether the franchise would keep the name Phantoms, or come up with a new nickname.

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