Hockey Night in Allentown

photo and effects: @Kram209

photo and effects:

The Phantoms kick off a “Three-in-Three” tonight at the PPL Center in Allentown.  The puck drops at 7:05PM for a divisional match-up with the Hershey Bears.  News and Notes to get you ready:

The sun is out.  It’s not too cold.  And, it’s a GAME DAY!  Let’s get ready for some hockey, folks:


Good seats are still available.  In fact, just punching in 2 for “best available” just gave me better seats than my season tickets! Another strategy might be to purchase the tickets at the box office.  Research this week–with help from DiPro–tells me that it DOES save you some fees!  Example:  Upper level seat is list price $18.50, $19.50 day of game.  DiPro paid $20 on Wednesday.  Online order, with fees, for the same ticket today (game day):  $26.50.  That pays for your parking, my friend!  Disclaimer:  Tickets seem to be priced differently on the day of the event.  Also, they could have fouled up DiPro’s order and he got a special deal.  Just letting you know what we know.  The best way to use this information if you’re buying single-game tickets occasionally?  Buy the tickets for your next game while you’re downtown for your current game.  That seems to be an efficient way to do it if you know your schedule in advance.

TV and Radio:

The usual sources:  Service Electric TV-2 and corresponding HD; AM-1470 and corresponding IHeartRadio App; FM 89.9 in the arena.  Pre- and Post-game shows live from Chickie’s and Pete’s for the TV version; on the radio with Bob Rotruck starting at 6:20, then again following the game.  Once they get the audio figured out, we’ll be able to enjoy the TV version ‘live’ on site.

Hershey Bears:

The cross-state and divisional rivals come in 3-1 having won three in a row.  Going back to the Philadelphia days, the Phantoms are 86-88-10 all-time versus the Bears.  Including some interesting meetings:

  • 10/5/1996:  Bears 2 Phantoms 1; First Meeting (Bears had been Flyers previous affiliate!)
  • 5/3/1997: Phantoms 7  Bears 4;  Playoffs:  350 PIM, 14 game misconducts.
  • 4/11/2004:  Phantoms 3 Bears 2; OT win was on an EN-goal because Hershey needed a win to make playoffs; Phantoms swept Bears 12-0 that year!
  • 11/27/2004: Phantoms 3 Bears 1;  It was the 17th straight win for Phantoms establishing new AHL record (since broken)
  • 1/6/2012:  Phantoms 4 Bears 3;  OT win set an attendance record–the outdoor game drew 45,653

(Credit: Bob Rotruck’s Twitter feed.  Follow him @BobRotruck .)

Phantoms receive major Propps:

Well, just one Propp.  Brian Propp.  The Flyers legend will be in attendance this evening and signing autographs prior to the game and during the first intermission.  Find him at the Phantoms Youth table behind section 113.

Parking Update:

Regular meters seem to max-out at 2-hrs.  So, probably not a good strategy if you’re arriving downtown prior to 4PM (remember, meters are enforced Monday-Saturday 8AM-6PM).  Meter rate is $1/hour, according to the web site, but mine seemed to be more than that–closer to $1.25 as I paid by quarters.  I haven’t used the credit card method yet.

Chickie’s and Pete’s:

We’re big fans, and becoming bigger (literally…) as it goes.  Check out the “Crabby Ale” by Victory, exclusive draft for C+P.  Also, word is the “steamer hood” has been installed and just needs inspection so that we can start ordering up bushels of clams and muscles.  Also, we’ve learned that the audio system is close to being ready so that they’ll be able to play the pre- and post-game show over the PA for those getting ready for the game (as mentioned above).  Also, recall that you can take your drink right into the arena from C+P so long as there’s no glass container.

Name Stickers:

ICYMI:  I noticed the other day that they had begun placing stickers on the bottoms of the seats.  It looked like STH names.  Check it out before you sit down!


As the Flyers start to get a guy or two back, it has been rumored that we might receive RW Jason Akeson in lieu of F Chris VandeVelde if the Flyers like what they’ve seen of him (VandeVelde).  Akeson, the veteran Phantom, has been a healthy scratch a few times in this young season.  Reports are that Zepp will be “Wearing and Tearing” in the net tonight and tomorrow, with Anthony Stolarz getting the start for the matinee on Sunday in Hershey.  Late reports have D Mark Alt going to the Flyers prior to tonight’s game.  The Phantoms may receive a Defenseman from Reading in return, perhaps Flemming.  Stay tuned!


This is the first of about 8 times this season that the Phantoms will play three games in three days.  It’s a tough row to hoe for the players, but part of the deal in the AHL.  Luckily, the travel’s not too difficult this weekend (Binghamton and Hershey).  We’ll see how they respond.  Only tonight’s game is in Allentown.  However, these are important divisional games, so….Go Phantoms!

Up Next:

The team boards the bus for Binghamton, NY following the game tonight.  They’ll play an afternoon game in Hershey on Sunday (5PM if you’re going).  Then, they’ll return to Allentown for a Wednesday night tilt versus the Baby Penguins.  That will be the first week-night game at the PPL Center, and the first visit by the Pens.  Then home again next Saturday (11/1) versus Hartford before going on the road the following week and returning 11/15.

What Do I Want?

Still hoping to get a promotional schedule from the Phantoms soon.  It would be great for the kiddos to be able to choose their games (we only have two seats) ahead of time.

Will update later today if news presents; otherwise, I’ll see you at the arena,





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Keystone Cup and NoiseNation-TV @SteelHawksPIFL Interviews


One of the other things to come out of the SteelHawks News Conference yesterday, other than the 2015 schedule and the re-signing of QB Shane McSweeny, is more on the addition to the PIFL–the Erie Explosion.  This sets up a football rivalry similar to the Phantoms/Hershey/Wilkes-Barre rivalry in hockey and the IronPigs/Scranton Rivalry in baseball.  It’s being termed the “Keystone Cup” and will certainly add some interest to this season.  Erie is an established team.  They come in having dominated in their old league.  However, sources close to the SteelHawks have privately told me that the Erie franchise might be in for a big surprise given the high quality of play throughout the PIFL.  And, from the interviews above, there WILL indeed be an actual cup.  The design specifics have not been revealed yet.

keystone cup steelhawks image


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Membership Has Its Privileges

But how much privilege is there, really?

For Phantoms Season Ticket Holders, perhaps not that much.  Let me explain:

Phantoms Season Ticket Holders have pre-sale privileges for other events at the PPL Center Arena in Allentown.  Generally, we have the ability to purchase tickets online or sometimes via telephone 24-48 hours prior to the tickets going on sale to the general public.  But I’m not sure which group of people constitutes the “general public.”  You see, anyone who would like, can join the “Cyber Club” of the PPL Center and get the exact same privileges that a Phantoms Season Ticket Holder is entitled to vis-a-vis event pre-sales.  How do you join the Cyber Club?  Just sign up for free.  Or, FAIL to UN-check the box when ordering single-event tickets for ANYTHING.  Because I have Phantoms season tickets, AND have “joined” the Cyber Club, I get two separate emails with special codes for “pre-sale.”  The codes are different, but the timing’s the same, and the price is certainly no lower for either.  So who does this leave in the “general public?”

  • People who have never been to the PPL Center
  • People who refuse to give out ANY of their information, like email address
  • People without computers

Perhaps the seats set aside for the pre-sale are different for the groups, because they have different passwords to access the “pre-sale?”  Could be, but we’ll never know, because the PPL Center doesn’t let you pick your seats.  You cannot see which seats are available or what your choices are for seating beyond simply the price category.  And then, it seems the seats are randomly assigned:  I couldn’t find a rhyme or reason for which seats it was assigning me upon multiple attempts to purchase, recently.  And there’s the next problem:  because of the random seat function, EVERYBODY does what I did.  You keep punching through the system until it gives you an acceptable seat.  That confuses the system and clogs the bandwidth.  I’m not sure calling is any better:  The phone lines will get clogged up, and the ticket staff, while helpful, is no quicker.  It took DiPro almost 20 minutes to purchase ONE hockey ticket yesterday.  IN PERSON!  I’ve gathered while speaking with them on the phone that they cannot easily see which seats are available, either.  They can, but not easily enough to provide more than a modicum of help.   It’s not their fault.  The system is clunky, slow, and poor.  (And the fees are high.)  Just let us see the available seats and we can pick!

Then, we’ll see who really has the privileges!



Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey, PPL Center Arena

SteelHawks Schedule Release Now Official

We’ll have interviews and commentary from the PPL Center coming up on NoiseNation TV.  But, until then, a couple quick things.  First, the official schedule–note the 4PM start time for the opening game; it’ll fit better with IronPigs!


In other news announced today, QB Shane McSweeny will be back to lead the offensive attack.

Here’s the Bambuser stream from today’s event:

Stay tuned!


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Finding a Rhythm

My view from 106  Photo: DiPro

My view from 106
Photo: DiPro

As a fan, do you ever get that “gameday” feeling?  Can you feel the energy as you make your way to the stadium?  I can.  I first felt it many years ago, at one of my first NFL games.  Everybody’s walking in the same direction approaching the stadium.  Almost everybody’s cheering for the same team.  Who knows what will happen on this day?  There’s a palpable excitement in the air as you approach the gates, find your seat, and wait for the action to begin.

Once you become a season ticket holder for something, you begin to anticipate that electricity a bit.  At least, I know I do. If it’s a game day, I wake up a little easier.  Fix coffee a little quicker, and find my way to work a little better.  My day moves along a little smoother because it’s GAME DAY!  Perhaps it’s just me, but I get that way even for the minor league sports we enjoy so much here in the Lehigh Valley.

Over the years, as a full season ticket holder for IronPigs Baseball, I get in a rhythm of “home stand” and “road trip.”  When the ‘Pigs are at home, I’m accustomed to scheduling,and anticipating each and every game.  Yes, things get put off and neglected (sorry, kids) but that’s what road trips are for.  When the team’s away, there’s a chance to catch up on the housework, the lawn mowing and talking to the family.  There’s an ebb and flow to it, and the season moves along quite nicely.

The SteelHawks are football.  And football means once per week.  Once the game is over, you know there will be another next week and it will be either “home” or “away.”  Anyone who’s been an NFL fan knows how to fall into the rhythm of a football season quite easily.

But now there’s hockey.  I admit I’m not the biggest hockey fan in the world, and tend to start paying attention around the time the NHL playoffs start.  I know, I know.  But now I’m excited for Phantoms hockey, and I’m ready for more of that hockey action!  But hockey isn’t “every day” like baseball.  And, it’s not “next weekend” like football.  It’s fits and spurts, and I’m having trouble finding a rhythm in this young season.  I need more “game days.”  I know the players need a break. I know they have to play ‘away’ games.  But now I’ve got to wait all the way until Friday for another game.  Then, there will be two road games and another at home on Wednesday, then Saturday, then TWO WEEKS without a home game.  There will be a point in November-December where we’ll go 19 days without a home game.  There’s another two-week stretch in March.  I’ve got to learn to adapt, I guess.

Or, the arena’s gonna need another tenant.  Not this season, but perhaps next we’ll be able to add D-League Basketball or MASL-Soccer.  I think that would help me.

News and Notes:

  • From the previous post:  SteelHawks Schedule Release news conference and party, starting Wednesday at 2:30PM at the arena.  Food and Drink specials in Chickie’s and Pete’s following.  A NosieNation contingent is planning to attend.  Join us, won’t you?  Can’t get out of work?  Stop by after for the social event.
  • Forward Scott Laughton (@Laughts21) was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week!  His four goals in two games earned him the recognition.  Good job, Scotty!  We’re looking for more!
  • Monday is “Phantoms – Breaking the Ice” show on SECTV-2, which films live at 7PM (I believe) at Chickie’s and Pete’s.  Tonight’s guests are expected to be:  Forwards Brett Hextall and the aforementioned Scott Laughton!  Stop by C+P or watch on SECTV-2.

Waiting for ‘Game Day,’


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Hockey, Basketball AND Football?!!

The Lehigh Valley pro sports scene is rapidly growing since the PPL Arena opened. Kram has been doing a great job keeping us in tune to all the details of hockey and basketball and now we get ready to welcome the Steelhawks arena football team to the new arena!

From the Steelhawks:

Allentown, PA: The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks would like to invite the local media and general public to their 2015 Schedule Release Press Conference on Wednesday, October 22nd. The press conference will include some exciting announcements; the 2015 season schedule, key player signings, Assistant Coaching staff, and tryout information. Announcements will begin at 2:30pm inside the PPL Center, 701 Hamilton St. Allentown. Please enter at the Tim Horton’s Gate of the arena. Following the press conference fans are invited to come mix and mingle with the Steelhawks at Chickie’s and Pete’s inside the arena. There will be food and drink specials available.

Keep checking for the latest news and events from the Steelhawks! For further information please call Lehigh Valley Steelhawks Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Clark at (610) 282-3100, or visit our website at for the latest Steelhawks news! 2015 Season Ticket packages are now on sale! Reserve your seat now by calling the Steelhawks office at 610-282-3100.

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Basketball in Allentown: Hoop-Tastic!

The Opening Tip Photo: @Kram209

The Opening Tip
Photo: @Kram209


It might have been back-ups and scrubs from two non-contenders, but basketball arrived in Allentown last night–and it was a hit.  

The stars came out to watch a pre-season game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic last night.  While the Sixers won, there was good competition on the court for the 1/3 attendance in the arena.

I didn’t expect to watch the whole game, but we were in our seats the whole time for the non-stop action of a pre-season NBA game.  I was really impressed with my first NBA experience.  The arena certainly did a nice job providing a professional-quality court and setup for the players and teams.  Here are a couple quick observations:

  • We sat in row 6, which was the last row of “riser” seats.  The seats seemed a bit smaller than my regular seats.  Also, the cup holder is on the arm-rest–which is extra-short and fold-able–making it virtually unusable.  The seats were behind the hockey benches, which were removed to install two extra rows of folding chairs.  For hockey, it would have been the fourth row from the ice and behind the bench.
  • Some of the “floor” seats behind the benches and scoring table and whatnot were not so hot:  They were locked folding chairs not high enough to see well over the tall folks in front of them.
  • We might not have had Jack Nicholson with floor seats at our arena, but we had some stars:  The “Easton Assassin” Larry Holmes and “Chocolate Thunder” Darryl Dawkins were conspicuously present with their friends and family, court-side!
  • NBA teams have a lot of dudes in suits just hanging around.  It could have been some of the injured players–but there were more.  A lot of dudes in suits.  Just saying.
  • After this game, I can say that I’d buy season tickets to D-League Basketball if it came–regardless of team.  Just for reference, the 76ers D-League (Developmental League) team is currently the Delaware 87ers who play at the Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware.  But other NBA teams are nearby:  Nets, Wizards and Knicks, for example.
  • I got a better cell signal last night.  I’m not sure if it was just because I was in a different seat and that there were so few people there–or whether they’ve been working on it.  Stay tuned.
  • I noticed a few stickers on the bottom of seats–ostensibly names of the Phantoms’ season ticket holders.  I didn’t get to check my regular seat, but that’s something to look at next time you’re in the house–if you’re a Phantoms’ STH.
  • Meahwhile, in Glens Falls, NY, the Phantoms lost their first game of the season 4-2.  The final goal was an empty-netter and the Phantoms lead on shots.  Reports are that rookie net-minder and Flyers top goalie prospect Anthony Stolarz played well.  Both goals were scored by former first-rounder Scott Laughton–making 4 goals in two games.  Already I’m hearing the calls to get him to Philly.  However, at this juncture and for both teams, I’d recommend a modicum of stability if possible.  I think it will serve both best.
  • The game last night in NY was the only trip the former Adirondack team will make back to its previous home.  Reports are, the reception was mixed.  Some boo’s and some chirping–to go along with some warm applause and appreciation for their former team.
  • Up next?  Another Friday Night Tilt at the PPL Center:  This time versus the rival Hershey Bears.  I know meLVin is abstaining from chocolate all week…
  • Oooh, one more thing:  Wednesday afternoon is a schedule-release party at the Arena, for the SteelHawks.  We are planning a NoiseNation contingent.  Stay tuned.  We’ll see if they make any changes to that schedule.
  • Reckless prediction:  I predict the Phatoms will have a preliminary promotional schedule out this week.  We’ll see.  I’m not holding my breath, though.
  • Now, for some pictures.  Keep in mind I’m no Cheryl:


Jumper! Photo: @Kram209

Photo: @Kram209

Foul Shot Photo: @Kram209

Foul Shot
Photo: @Kram209

Larry Holmes Court-side. Photo: @Kram209

Larry Holmes and Friends, Court-side.
Photo: @Kram209

Darryl Dawkins and Family, Court-side. Photo: @Kram209

Darryl Dawkins and Family, Court-side.
Photo: @Kram209

Our Buddy Joe, and Family, Court-side near the Orlando bench. Photo: @Kram209

Our Buddy Joe, and Family, Court-side near the Orlando bench.
Photo: @Kram209

How ya doin’?


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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey, PPL Center Arena