Phantoms: New Home, New Hope – History of the Phantoms

The Phantoms played their last regular-season game in the Spectrum on April 10, 2009. (Photo courtesy of HockeyScoop.com)

Since 1936, the Philadelphia Flyers have been affiliated with several AHL teams. Their longest-lasting (and most successful) affiliation was with the Hershey Bears from 1984-1996, prior to dealing with the Phantoms. When the Flyers moved out of the Spectrum and into the CoreStates Center in September of ‘96, they elected to keep the Spectrum open. Doing so required them to find another tenant to replace all the games lost with the Flyers’ move, and so they made a move and purchased the Phantoms, an expansion team scheduled to begin operation in the 1996-1997 season. And thus began the longtime relationship between the Flyers and the Phantoms.

For their first three seasons, the Phantoms found a lot of success in Philadelphia. They finished first in the Mid-Atlantic standings in all three seasons, and won their first Calder Cup at the end of their second season. Unfortunately, that success didn’t hold up very well after that great start. The team finished in third or fourth place in the division for the next few seasons, but things started looking up again during the 2003-2004 season and the 2004-2005 season. The latter included a second Calder Cup win for the team. The following season, nine players made the Flyers roster, while four others were called up throughout the year.

In 13 seasons in Philadelphia, the Phantoms only missed the playoffs three times. While some may say that just two championship wins in thirteen years does not equal a successful run, their record while housed in the Spectrum was impressive.

The 2008-2009 campaign was the final one for the Phantoms in Philadelphia. With the demolition of the Spectrum scheduled for the spring of ‘09, the team made a deal to sell the Phantoms to the Brooks Group of Pittsburgh. Once that deal was made, the Brooks Group got negotiating on moving the team to Allentown, where they will be heading upon the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season.

However, the team needed a place to play during the several-year transition, and the solution was a temporary relocation to Glens Falls, New York.

Glens Falls was always meant to be a temporary home for the Phantoms until they took up shop in Allentown. Perhaps that’s why the team has struggled so much in the four years they’ve been the Adirondack Phantoms. They’ve yet to make the playoffs, and the closest they’ve come to first place in their division was a third-place finish in 2012.

But the future does look bright for the Phantoms, due to some promising young talent. Several of the Phantoms made appearances for the Flyers last season, including Brandon Manning, Tye McGinn, and Oliver Lauridsen. Lauridsen made a name for himself during the last two games of the 2012-2013 season, scoring goals in both, and he and McGinn stand a pretty decent chance of making the Flyers roster out of training camp.

Perhaps the Phantoms will make a strong push this season, to finish up their time in Glens Falls with a bang. Or maybe they’ll continue to struggle until they find a more solid home upon moving to Allentown. Either way, the young squad always proves to be an interesting and exciting team to watch, and this season will surely be no different.