According to a letter submitted by Adirondack Phantoms VP Chris Porreca to the Mayor of Glens Falls, New York, the club will remain in place for the 2013-14 season.
The Post Star was first with the official word on Friday evening.
That means, for a fifth and final campaign, the Flyers will have their American Hockey League affiliate playing in the Glens Falls Civic Center.
While putting an end to the speculation about whether or not minor-league hockey will have a home there next season, there is a note of bittersweetness knowing the Phantoms will be departing for the Lehigh Valley in time for the 2014-15 season.
It is not new news. As written by Nearhos last week: “The team and city jointly announced that the team would pick up its option for the 2013-14 season if the city did not have a long-term occupant. The deadline for another team to come in was set for April 1, and the deadline to sign the option remained May 1. With that May 1 date just a few days away, the team still has not signed the option, but everyone involved is confident it will happen.”
And so it has.
The Phantoms have played to near-capacity crowds at GFCC over their first four years in upstate New York, but the limited capacity of the arena has the club in the lower third of overall, per-game attendance in the league.
That will change once the new arena in Allentown is competed, with seating nearly twice as much than what their current home can provide.
So, what does that mean for Glens Falls in 2014 and beyond? More Nearhos: “The question of what comes next remains, however. The city is trying to recruit another AHL team to follow the Phantoms. (Mayor Jack) Diamond said he would not consider other hockey leagues until every possible avenue in the AHL is exhausted.
“After the recent affiliation changes between Vancouver and St. Louis, Vancouver now owns the Peoria Rivermen, who had told the city of Peoria that they were leaving after this season.
“What I can say is that every franchise in the American Hockey League is aware that Glens Falls is open for business and that if someone wants to come in and take a look at our building, take a look at our community, we’re available,” Diamond said.
It’s a question whose possible answers were previously covered in a post from early this year in the wake of my own initial visit to the region. What Nearhos and Tim McManus have stated previously, seems to have been borne out in the above passages: the city clearly views itself worthy of continued AHL patronage from a political standpoint, but any hockey will do when confronted with 36-40 empty dates per calendar year.
Here’s also hoping that our own Casey Lumbra will be back on press row next season as well after serving as our correspondent for the latter half of last year.