Friday, January 04, 2013

Phantoms staying in Glens Falls next year. Or are they?

Mixed messages regarding the fate of the Phantoms franchise came to light on Friday.

A joint statement between the Brooks Brothers and the City of Glens Falls provides insight below:

Glens Falls, NY - Today was another “Great Day for Hockey” as the Adirondack Phantoms announced their intent to accept their lease option to play in Glens Falls for the 2013-14 hockey season. The 2013-14 season will mark the 5th anniversary for the Adirondack Phantoms and a historic 25th season in the American Hockey League for Glens Falls.

Mayor John “Jack” Diamond was happy to announce, “We are excited to continue the great hockey tradition in Glens Falls with the Adirondack Phantoms as we continue to pursue our long-term goal of keeping AHL hockey at the Glens Falls Civic Center in the future.” 

Adirondack Phantoms owners Jim and Rob Brooks have also graciously agreed to relinquish their lease option should city officials successfully recruit a long-term tenant. “The deadline will be April 1, 2013,” Diamond said. “If we are able to secure a long term commitment from another AHL team, the Brooks’ have agreed to step aside.” 

Adirondack Phantoms owner Rob Brooks commented, “Jim and I still remember the first call from Mayor Diamond. When we bought the Phantoms in 2009, many cities with an arena were requesting our move. But Mayor Diamond’s request was different in that he requested we temporarily move the Phantoms to Glens Falls and help him test the viability of the American Hockey League in the Adirondack Region. It has always been our goal from year one to help build a model that could entice another AHL team to Glens Falls.” 

“There is still work to be done by both sides as we get ready for the 2013-14 season,” Rob Brooks continued. “The Phantoms organization needs to grow the ticket and corporate base to a level that is enticing to another AHL team and the city needs to continue to market the Glens Falls area to prospective AHL organizations.” 

“Today’s announcement outlines a solid plan and timetable for the continuation of American League Hockey in Glens Falls and now as a community we must act and quickly move forward,” stated Dan Hall, President of the Glens Falls Common Council.

The Phantoms will begin their 2013-14 Season Ticket and Sponsorship Renewal Drive in the next few days. The team has also agreed to transfer or reimburse 100% of all deposits made if/when a new team signs a lease. No plans have yet been made for the Phantoms if another team steps in for next season.

“We know that this will present a substantial hardship for Rob and Jim if the Phantoms have to relocate for next season, but it shows the commitment they have made to Glens Falls,” added Mayor Diamond. "We want to continue our great hockey tradition in Glens Falls. 

Our community enjoys the entertainment at the arena and professional hockey is a major economic driver for our area and helps many local businesses. Fans can help support our efforts by continuing to attend hockey games and we will continue to work hard to bring high level hockey to our area for the long-term.”

The town played host to the Adirondack Red Wings from 1979-99, and waited 10 years for the AHL to return when the vagabond Phantoms arrived with the understanding that the club would relocate to Allentown once construction on an arena was completed.

Of course, it would be a massive boon to the local economy to know that another minor-league club will fill the slot left by the Phantoms' southerly migration. But it's ridiculous to think that, if a long-term lease is secured, the Phantoms will be left without a home for, at best, half a season because there is little chance the Lehigh Valley venue will be complete in time for an October, 2013 start date.

Such is business, such is life.

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