Phantoms: New Home, New Hope – The Voice From Above, Dan Miner

I have been associated with the Glens Falls Civic Center in several different aspects, from inputting online stats during the Frostbite era, to operating the message board, and now writer for Flyers Faithful covering the Phantoms. During all my stints, there was one constant: The voice from above, Dan Miner, PA Announcer.

Dan Miner, Gary Gifford and Casey Lumbra in the GFCC press box

Dan Miner, Gary Gifford and Casey Lumbra in the GFCC press box – c/o Lisa Miner

Not only is Dan a terrific on-air talent, but he is a passionate, hockey smart and kind individual who welcomed me into the press box very quickly. Since then, Dan and I have become friends and with the addition of Gary “The Music Man” Gifford, we have been deemed the three musketeers of the press box. So when we began planning this Phantoms series, Dan popped into my head as one of the first people I wanted to talk to.

He did me the honor of granting an interview earlier this week:

Q. Tell me a little about yourself and your history with Hockey in Glens Falls.

A. I was born in Troy, NY and grew up just a couple of blocks away from the RPI Field House. I went to as many games as my older cousins would bring me to. I started covering the Adirondack Red Wings in 1985 for two stations I was working at in Ticonderoga, NY. After moving to Glens Falls, NY in 1990, I covered the team for one season before I went to work for the Red Wings as an on-ice host, back up PA announcer, and host of their weekly radio show. When the Red Wings left in 1999, I became the PA announcer for the Adirondack IceHawks of the UHL. I remained the radio show host as well and stayed with the team through the name change to the Adirondack Frostbite. When the Frostbite left, I was the PA announcer for the Albany River Rats games in Glens Falls. When the Phantoms came to town, they hired me to be their PA announcer, as well.

Q. What is one of your most memorable experiences covering the Hockey in Glens Falls?

A. The easy answer would be to say the Calder Cup Championships the I was covering. The real answer is, the people. The people of the North Country are passionate about hockey and those associated with it. They expect an honest effort from the team on the ice and off the ice, game in and game out. No matter what is happening on the ice, they can be assured that they get my A game. They work hard for their money and so do I. They’re good people.

Q. Being a New York Rangers fan, how were you able to stomach announcing for a Flyers affiliate?

A. I’ve had experience calling for a minor league team that wasn’t the affiliate of my favorite. I did play-by-play for a season for the Chicago White Sox affiliate in Glens Falls and I’m a Yankees fan. I love hockey. I give my all for the home team.

Q. What is one of your most memorable experiences covering the Phantoms?

A. Last year, the Phantoms recognized me for my over 20 years of service to hockey at the Glens Falls Civic Center by having Dan Miner Bobble Head Night. It was and still is very surreal. I don’t believe anyone ever says when they are a little kid, “Someday, I’ll have my own bobble head.” It was and still is a fantastic experience.

Q. The last couple of seasons have been extensions on the original contract with the city of Glens Falls. Do you think that hurt or helped the city and the Phantoms inevitable departure?

A. Both. It helped by keeping the American Hockey League in Glens Falls. It hurt by the city not really being able to market the team to come in. The city needed to wait to see what was going to happen.

Q. Why do you think the Phantoms haven’t had much success in Adirondack?

A. The team on the ice just wasn’t good. The first year of the Phantoms in Glens Falls, the players that were with the team in Philadelphia didn’t want to be in Glens Falls. Who could blame them? Upstate New York is night and day away from Philadelphia. You can’t blame the Brooks brothers. They aren’t the guys putting the players and coaches in place.

Q. Mayor Diamond mentioned a couple weeks ago that he plans to go in front of the AHL Board and push the history of Glens Falls. Is history enough to bring another AHL team in or do you think Glens Falls is no longer able to sustain an AHL team?

A. Having the history tells a nice story. The reality is that whomever comes in, if they come in, they will need to beat the bushes. Shake every hand. Kiss every baby. Sign every autograph. Be part of the area.

Q. We all knew the Phantoms were a temporary tenant, do you think that had any influence on over all attendance?

A. I’m sure it did. The rallying cry from the city has been, “Let’s support The Phantoms and show the rest of the AHL that a small town like this can support an AHL franchise.” I don’t believe many locals ever thought of their stop in Glens Falls as anything else but a rental of the Glens Falls Civic Center. That being said, people did get behind them.

Q. Based on the last few years with the Phantoms in town, is there enough interest among fans in Glens Falls that would support a new AHL team coming in?

A. I do believe there is. I really think the key would be to have some sort of local ownership of a team. Something to give the team a local face that they can associate with. I also believe that, if there is another team, the fans need to be educated that the AHL is different from when the Red Wings first came to Upstate New York.

Q. From what you’ve seen during your career, do you think a team moving cities brings a burst of energy to them their first season in their new town?

A. I don’t know if the team gets the burst of energy but I do know the towns do. The players have changed through the years. It is more business-like to them. They have a job to do and that’s what they do.