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,’

@Kram209

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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Phantoms Hockey, PPL Center Arena, Steel Hawks

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 http://www.LVSteelhawks.com 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

Jumper!
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’?

@Kram209

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

Phantoms Still Perfect; Reunion on Tap for Tonight

With an overtime win last night, the Phantoms remain perfect on the season at 2-0.  They’ll head back to their old stomping ice in Glens Falls tonight, to cap the home-and-home series with the Flames.  

 

Here are my observations from last night:

  • We arrived super-early to take in all the sites and sounds of the opening night.  Because of our early arrival, we were able to park without the $6 fee.  However, I would caution anyone using that as an every-game strategy:  Depending on the type of parking you select (surface lot, garage, or meter) you’ll be subject to the same downtown parking rates and policies of the residents and employees who live and work downtown.  That is, you’ll have to feed the meter or perhaps have a permit or daytime parking fee.  Use caution, is all I’m saying:  one ticket–or tow job–will more than cancel out any savings you might achieve.  Best strategy that time of day (3:00-4:00) is probably to park at a meter and pay enough to last until 6:00PM.
  • Chickie’s and Pete’s was not crowded at all when we arrived.  We got a table and started ordering food and drinks from the menu.  They didn’t have any crabs, clams or muscles, so we settled on lobster tails.  We later learned that it wasn’t for lack of seafood delivery, but some kitchen equipment is yet to be installed due to a back-order or other delivery/installation delay.  No matter.  The food was good, the service was good, and the price was fair.  Give the “Crabby Ale” (Victory) a try–it was very good!
  • We didn’t stick around for the pregame show.  We wanted to get to our seats to get the T-Shirts.  Plus, you can’t always hear the show over the pop music, anyway.  The other thing is, there aren’t a lot of tables or spots where you can sit to watch the show live–most of the seating is behind the stage or down on the other side of the entrance.  No matter.  We’ll be sure to explore that better in the future.  You can enter the Arena straight from the restaurant with your game ticket once the gates open.  You can even take your drink in, they told us, but no glass.
  • I believe there were nice programs available at the entrance, but I didn’t see them or get one.  I’ll have to make a point of that in the future.  The guy next to me had one; it looked nicely done.
  • As far as I could tell, there was no problem with the T-Shirt giveaway at the seats.  They were all XL as far as I could determine–and I heard no complaints.  Another nice side effect of having them on the seats was that it created the “orange out” even before everyone got to his/her seat!  The shirts were nice Gildan heavy cotton, which are the standard theses days, and pretty ubiquitous.
  • Here’s some video I shot with my phone.  First, the scene at Chickie’s and Pete’s:  http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006333
  • Warm-ups from up in the Miller Lite Loft:  http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006493
  • meLVin’s intro:  http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006525
  • Player intros:  http://embed.bambuser.com/broadcast/5006538
  • It’s just low quality phone video and not the type of thing you would get from prohibited video equipment….but in case you weren’t there and you’re curious.  Stuff looked WAY better in person, and they really did a good job with it.
  • The game was a lot of fun, and the Phantoms game-day staff has made strides since the preseason with their presentation and between-action entertainment.  Those video boards are really gorgeous and certainly add to the game-day experience.
  • The Phantoms hired a professional “super-fan” to rev up the crowd.  I’m not really certain how I feel about this–and I could tell he was a plant during the game.  It’s a bit fake, but he did a reasonable job and people seemed to like him.  Dude’s name is Cameron Hughes.  Read more about him here.
  • All-in-all a good time and a good win for the team.  We saw many friends from the IronPigs and SteelHawks in the house.  Some of them only because they were on the big screen (JimmyT!).
  • Tonight’s game will be available on the radio, radio app, or via the AHL video package.  Personally, I’ll be checking out the Sixers down at the arena.  I’m not a fan, but I really want to see how they do basketball there.  Should be fun.  I was able to get internet access at the arena, so I’ll try to post as I can.  If you’re listening, I’d be interested to hear what kind of reception the Phantoms get as they return to their previous home.  Also of note, Anthony “StolieTheGoalie” Stolarz will make his professional debut in goal tonight, for the Phantoms.
  • Here’s the call of the winning goal from last night, by radio voice Bob Rotruck:  here
  • Here’s last night’s official game story from Dan Fremuth and the Phantoms Media Dept:

Manning’s OT Winner Caps Magical Phantoms Victory

Sold-Out PPL Center Crowd Treated to Instant Classic in Home Opener

October 17, 2014

Lehigh Valley, PA – “Today is such a great day for hockey,” Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ co-owner Jim Brooks said in a pre-game video in advance of Friday’s home opener at PPL Center. “And it’s a great day for the Lehigh Valley and Allentown.”

Little did Brooks know those words would foreshadow one of the most magical wins in franchise history as the Phantoms outlasted the Adirondack Flames 4-3 in overtime in front of a sold-out, standing-room-only crowd of 8,647 raucous fans in the regular season opener of the Inaugural Season of Phantoms hockey at PPL Center. Scott Laughton scored a pair of goals and Petr Straka also tallied while Shayne Gostisbehere contributed three assists.

The victory was the milestone 700th triumph in Phantoms history and the second in as many games in the Lehigh Valley era. With the win, the Phantoms (2-0-0, 4 pts.) are tied for first place in both the Eastern Conference and East Division.

“WE CAME HERE TO BUILD AN ARENA THAT WOULD BRING HIGH-QUALITY ENTERTAINMENT TO THE LEHIGH VALLEY,” BROOKS’ BROTHER AND FELLOW CO-OWNER ROB SAID. “AND TONIGHT WE’RE DELIVERING THAT.”

Fans were greeted by a bright orange spectacle upon their arrival to PPL Center. Commemorative Opening Night T-Shirts were arranged on every seat in the building as part of the team’s fun Orange Out promotion.

Then came the Opening Night ceremonies complete with swirling spotlights and smoke-machine as the Phantoms players were introduced one by one. After that came Allie Santos whose performance of the Star Spangled Banner was nothing short of spectacular. After a ceremonial puck-drop with Andrew Gordon of the Phantoms and Nolan Yonkman of the Flames we were ready to get started on an exciting, back-and-forth contest that was the perfect way to introduce the Lehigh Valley to the American Hockey League.

Partway into the game, SuperFan Cameron Hughes was featured on the video-board and pushed the enthusiasm of the crowd even further with T-Shirt tosses, screaming, funny dances, slow-claps and even a wave. It would be safe to say that the crazed cheerleader was a popular hit with the Phantoms fans.

Scott Laughton opened the scoring just past the midway point of the first period with the Phantoms first-ever regular season goal at PPL Center. Andrew Gordon and Taylor Leier assisted on the 20-year-old rookie’s power play tally that brought the sold-out PPL Center crowd, which was clad in orange, to its feet in unison. Laughton was a first-round selection of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2012.

Adirondack evened the contest and claimed its first and only lead of the night with a pair of second period goals from Sena Acolatse and David Wolf but Lehigh Valley answered back with a flourish when Laughton pounded in his second goal of the game with just 45 seconds remaining in the middle frame. Gordon and Shayne Gostisbehere assisted on the game-tying tally, which once again brought the orange-clad Phantoms into a frenzy.

Both sides traded goals in the final period as Petr Straka netted his first goal of the season 2:26 into the third frame with assists from Nick Cousins and Zack Stortini before Dustin Stevenson launched in a controversial game-tying tally 4:44 into the period which was upheld upon official review.

But the Phantoms and their fans would have the final say in this one as Brandon Manning slapped in his third career overtime game-winner just 1:24 into sudden death overtime. Gostisbehere and Cousins assisted on the conversion, which capped an historic and magical night in downtown Allentown and brought the sold-out PPL Center crowd to its loudest and most energetic pitch of the evening.

Phantoms goaltender Rob Zepp earned his second victory of the season after 29 saves on 32 Adirondack shots. The 33-year-old netminder, who displayed incredible agility and resiliency Friday evening, is now 2-0 on the young season.

While the game was a wildly entertaining affair for the historic Opening Night game, the spectacular PPL Center facility itself was also featured. On hand to enjoy the big debut was the President and CEO of the American Hockey League, David Andrews.

“IT’S A SPECTACULAR BUILDING,” ANDREWS SAID. “IT’S REALLY BEEN WELL THOUGHT OUT. I’M VERY HAPPY FOR THE BROOKS GROUP WHO HAVE HAD THIS DREAM FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS NOW AND TO SEE IT TO COME TO FRUITION TONIGHT WITH OPENING NIGHT FOR THE PHANTOMS IS REALLY SPECIAL. THIS IS REALLY KIND OF A DREAM COME TRUE TO HAVE A FANTASTIC FACILITY LIKE THIS. TODAY’S A SPECIAL DAY FOR FANS HERE IN ALLENTOWN AND THE LEHIGH VALLEY AND I’M VERY HAPPY FOR THEM.”

Lehigh Valley is back in action tomorrow when the team heads up to Glens Falls, NY to complete its home-and-home series with the Flames. The team played in Glens Falls, NY for five seasons from 2009 to 2014 as the Adirondack Phantoms. A large crowd is expected at the Glens Falls Civic Center for the area’s only look at the team they had hosted and supported so well.

The Phantoms return to PPL Center next Friday evening when they renew their heated rivalry with the Hershey Bears. It will be the 185th all-time meeting between the Phantoms and Bears dating back to the beginning of the Philadelphia Phantoms in 1996.

Tickets for next Friday’s game and all regular season home games are on sale now at the Mealey’s Furniture Box Office at PPL Center (701 Hamilton Street), by calling 610-347-TIXX (8499) or logging on pplcenter.com.

Check it out! Don’t miss the action and fun of Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey at PPL Center in downtown Allentown! Contact the Phantoms Front Office for information on season tickets and affordable partial-season plans by calling 610-224-GOAL (4625).

Adirondack Flames 3 at Lehigh Valley Phantoms 4 (OT)
Friday, October 17, 2014 – PPL Center

Adirondack 0 2 1 0 – 3
Lehigh Valley 1 1 1 1 – 4

1st Period-1, Lehigh Valley, Laughton 1 (Gordon, Leier), 11:59 (PP). Penalties-Stevenson Adk (interference), 2:59; Hathaway Adk (tripping), 7:09; Van Brabant Adk (tripping), 11:37; Hextall Lv (interference), 12:49; Stevenson Adk (misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:53; Stortini Lv (checking to the head), 15:53.

2nd Period-2, Adirondack, Acolatse 1 (Granlund), 6:07 (PP). 3, Adirondack, Wolf 1 (Tousignant, Ramage), 10:44 (PP). 4, Lehigh Valley, Laughton 2 (Gordon, Gostisbehere), 19:15 (PP). Penalties-Rosehill Lv (roughing, roughing, misconduct – unsportsmanlike conduct), 2:42; Lauridsen Lv (boarding), 4:12; Manning Lv (double minor – high-sticking), 7:36; Granlund Adk (cross-checking), 12:21; Stortini Lv (goaltender interference), 13:22; Van Brabant Adk (goaltender interference), 17:16; Stevenson Adk (hooking), 18:56.

3rd Period-5, Lehigh Valley, Straka 1 (Cousins, Stortini), 2:26. 6, Adirondack, Stevenson 1 (Granlund), 4:44. Penalties-Ramage Adk (hooking), 13:33.

OT Period-7, Lehigh Valley, Manning 1 (Gostisbehere, Cousins), 1:24. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Adirondack 6-14-11-1-32. Lehigh Valley 8-12-9-2-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Adirondack 2 / 8; Lehigh Valley 2 / 7.
Goalies-Adirondack, Ortio 0-2-0 (31 shots-27 saves). Lehigh Valley, Zepp 2-0-0 (32 shots-29 saves).
A-8,647
Referees-Darcy Burchell (42), Jonathan Alarie (38).
Linesmen-Bob Fyrer (72), Bob Goodman (90).

Upcoming:

Saturday, October 18 (7:00) – Lehigh Valley Phantoms at Adirondack Flames

Friday, October 24 (7:05) – Hershey Bears at Lehigh Valley Phantoms. A renewal of one of the great rivalries in the American Hockey League!

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Hockey Night in Allentown: Home Opener–Alright for Fyten

“It’s getting late have you seen my mates
Ma tell me when the boys get here
It’s seven o’clock and I want to rock
Want to get a belly full of beer”

–Elton John and Bernie Taupin

—–

I just couldn’t wait for him to do something on a Saturday–the headline is just too good!

IMG_1086

It’s finally here!  Real hockey in Allentown starts tonight, and the place should be rockin’.  The 1-0 Lehigh Valley Phantoms will face the 0-3 Adirondack Flames at 7:05PM tonight at the PPL Center in the heart of the Queen City.

Here’s some information on the game to get you ready:

  • As insinuated:  Tonight, Austin Fyten will get skates after being a healthy scratch in the opener in Wilkes-Barre.  He’ll work on the fourth line, we understand.
  • If you missed it earlier this week, we’ve had our first set of transactions:  Forward (and leading scorer) Chris VandeVelde was added to the Flyers for their trip to Dallas, and Andrew Johnston was added to the Phantoms roster from Reading.
  • Doors will open at 6:00PM for the 7:05 start.  The “orange-out” T-Shirt giveaway will be on your seat.  I expect a little pomp prior to the game, along with some nice player intros and a meLVin arrival.  It might be a good idea to be in your seat early.  Also, this prevents someone from stealing your T-Shirt!
  • Should the Phantoms win tonight, it will be the 700th win in franchise history!
  • The game will be televised on SECTV-2 starting with the pre-game show at 6:30PM–the show is broadcast live from the small sound stage in Chicke’s and Pete’s.  Radio with Bob Rotruck on the call: AM-1470.  In the area, use FM-89.9. On the net, 1470 is available via the IHeartRadio app.
  • After the game:  The Phantoms and Flames will head back to Glens Falls, NY for the second half of the home-and-home.  It will be the third game in a row for the Flames, who lost last night to Rockford.  Word out of Glens Falls is that many of the local fans will don Phantoms jerseys as they welcome their old team back, one last time.  But our old friends the “Section N Hecklers” are planning to make sure their old team “hears the chirps.”  These are the only games this season versus Glens Falls’ new franchise.
  • If you have tickets to pick up, please make sure that you have the appropriate ID.  Will Call for this game will only be available at the main entrance (Tim Horton’s Gate; Mealey’s Furniture Box Office).  A secondary box office will be open at 6PM for walk-up service if tickets still remain.  That location is at the Northwest Gate at 8th and Linden.  It is also there that the season ticket table will be located for STH who still have not had the opportunity to pick up their packages.  As of this writing, it appears that seats for the game have sold out.  “Standing Room” remains, at $22.50 (+fees).
  • Camera Policy:  No professional lenses or video photography of any kind are permitted.  No flash photography is permitted.
  • Re-Entry:   As part of our safety policy, there is no re-entry into the PPL Center.  If you enter the facility and then leave, you will need an unused ticket to enter the arena again.

  • Prohibited Items:
    • - Alcoholic beverages, controlled or unlawful substances and controlled substance paraphernalia
      – Weapons of any kind including but not limited to:  firearms, knives, chains and spiked jewelry
      – Cans, bottles (glass or plastic) or coolers
      – Outside foods or beverages
      – Professional cameras, audio or video recording devices and tripods
      – Mobile tablet devices and laptops
      – Laser pointers and pens, pepper spray and Mace
      – Noisemakers, such as airhorns, fireworks, Frisbees, balls and other projectiles
      – Large purses and large backpacks
      -Animals that are not service animals
      -Any other item deemed unacceptable by the event or building management
    • *This list is subject to change without notice by PPL Center Management.
  • While the Phantoms will be without leading scorer VandeVelde, the Flames will be without Trevor Gillies, who has been suspended for a number of games for slamming another player’s head to the ice.  I’ll refrain from comment about Canadian guys named Gillies who have temper problems…
  • The Goalie Remains the Same:  Veteran Rob Zepp will again get the start for the Phantoms.  Young “Stoli” should get his first start tomorrow in Glens Falls.  It’s expected that the Phantoms will face the Flames’ backup netminder as they played last night.  One other note:  It seems Zepp is OK with all this Led Zeppelin stuff:  He has ZEPP on the front of his helmet in the classic Led Zeppelin font, and some of the “runes” symbols as well!
  • AHL president Dave Andrews should be in the house tonight.  Here’s his picture–stop him and welcome him to Allentown if you get the chance!
    AHL President and CEO David Andrews.

    AHL President and CEO David Andrews.

     

  • It’s still not clear what’s going on with the Phantoms’ new AHL official web site at http://www.phantomshockey.com.  For me, it still refers back to the old phantoms arena site.  To get on the new site–and to see the roster–click to:  http://www.phantomshockey.com/team/
  • The roster hasn’t been updated with the transactions.  I’ll be looking to get a program or roster from fan services when I arrive tonight.

That’s all I’ve got.  Enjoy the game folks!  Let’s get a win!  I’ll post lines and pairings, along with PP and PK units if I get them in time.

See you at the arena,

@Kram209

“How YOU doin’?”

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

PPL Center FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About the Allentown Arena–For the Fans, By the Fans

entry cropped

Introduction:  Some of this information may change over time, as the Arena and its tenants fine-tune the facility and its offerings.  I’ll try to provide “updated” dates for added information–also, please feel free to leave additional information in the comments section.  Some policies might be subject to change–or I could just be wrong.  Please keep that in mind, as well.  The purpose here is to provide as much information as we can to arena-goers so that each may maximize his/her experience at the facility.  I find the resources available regarding most such facilities (arenas as well as ballparks and so on) are sorely lacking.  It’s  a great place–just trying to help you appreciate it to its fullest!

 

(Updated: 10/27/2014)

Where:

The Arena is located at 7th Street and Hamilton Street in the heart of downtown Allentown.  It is a true “downtown” arena–and that was kind of the idea at its genesis.  However, please do not put “701 Hamilton Street” in your GPS for the trip.  You’ll want to plan your parking first–and use that address as well as advanced route, for GPS directions.

Advanced:  Many of the streets surrounding the arena are one-way.  Parking is “multi-site.”  Planning your parking and entry route into the city will help prevent you from driving around, looking for parking.  The streets surrounding the arena are well-lit, and security is ubiquitous at this juncture.  It’s safe to park and walk.

 

Parking:

While some who may live in Allentown may be able to walk or use public transportation to attend events at the PPL Center arena, most of us will have to arrive by private vehicle–and park.  Parking is $6 for sporting events and $10 for other events such as concerts.  It’s not clear where that line is drawn–but parking can be paid by cash or credit card on access to the parking garages and surface lots in the area. I altered the map below to try to show the routes into and out of the arena zone.  I believe if you click on it, you can see a larger version. I also believe they may reverse 7th Street following some events in order to facilitate egress.  At many of the sites, transportation assistance is available to shuttle you to the arena if you don’t want to–or are unable to–walk.

Parking Routes in Red.  Modification (c) Kram209

Parking Routes in Red. Modification (c) Kram209

Advanced Parking, volume 1:  Note the color coded parking choices.  As you enter the zone, you’ll see color coded signage which will direct you to parking.  An additional web-active map is available at AllentownEventParking.com , which will show you available parking spaces in real time if you hover over the choices, using your smart phone.  Please have a passenger in the car perform this task.  The Parking Authority is also available via Twitter–and they are very responsive.  Follow @AtownParking for up-to-the-minute parking information.  (Do Not Tweet and Drive!)

Advanced Parking, volume 2:  Especially on weekends, there seems to be a fair amount of on-street parking available in the zone.  There are meters–many of which take both coins and credit cards–but the meters are only monitored until 6PM.  If you locate an open street spot, in an area not too far from the arena, which is well-lit:  Go for it.  You’ll save the $6 or $10.  Another way to save money on parking is by using the “Government Deck” at 4th and Hamilton.  Shuttles are available, and that facility is only $3.  It will be really easy to get to that one from the new Parkway Bridge, once it’s finished.  Please use caution if parking in a private lot–if you get towed it will cost a lot more than $6!  Even the on-street spots aren’t completely safe, though.  Read this.

Advanced Parking, volume 3:  There are a couple things to avoid.  First, avoid the intersection of Seventh Street and Linden Street.  The confluence of two major entry (and exit) routes, with pedestrians from the nearby parking facilities, with new construction, has created a major bottleneck there.  Avoid it if you can.  Second, do not attempt to park in the Arena Garage–it is mostly for the VIPs and suite holders, as well as the LVHN building and eventually the hotel–and whatnot.  Finally, avoid driving around in circles if you can help it; it just adds to the traffic.  Park and walk, if you can.

Advanced Parking, volume 4:  Handicap and Accessible parking options may still be a problem.  From what I’ve heard so far, parking via the Linden Street Arena Parking entrance and taking the elevator directly to the concourse behind section 107 works very well.  However, as mentioned above, those spots are extremely limited and may be full by the time you get there.  Most lots and decks have designated spaces–and there are shuttles to help–but that may not be an appropriate option for everybody.  I’ll try to gather more information.  Perhaps a call to the Parking Authority in advance can provide further information about your parking needs, in this instance.  I also saw a couple street spots empty the other day along 7th Street, just South of the arena, on the left (it’s one-way).  Look for the blue curb.

Advanced Parking, volume 5:  If you’re headed downtown early to grab a bite at one of the nearby restaurants, you may be able to take advantage of valet parking.  I believe the Cosmopolitan and the Hamilton Kitchen offer this service for $20 (plus tip?).  It’s not a way to save money, but does add a modicum of convenience for a night out on the town.  Once the hotel opens in January 2015, or so, if you’re staying over–that will give you access to parking, I believe.

 

Seating Charts:  I’ll add them at the bottom; please scroll down.  I’ll try to add appropriate charts for hockey, football, basketball, and concerts.  Check the PPL Center web site for your event for a more specific chart.  There are approximately 21 rows in the lower bowl, and 14 in the upper.  Some sections may vary based on arena structure.  The first rows of the sections in the lower bowl are on collapsible risers–depending on the event and the setup, “row 6″ or “row 7″ might be the front row. The last rows may include accessible areas and support stanchions, so seat numbering may not match the row in front of it.  Extra rows of folding-chair-style seats are added where the hockey benches usually are–for basketball, concerts and the like.  There are bar-chair/rail seats at the western end of the arena in the final row.  They have numbers, but I’m not sure if they are sold or are for general use.  There are general use areas at the far western end of the arena, as well as near the bar behind section 107, and in the Miller Lite Loft in the upper Southeast corner, access via the stairs to section 210 and 211.  As far as I know, the arena does not sell “general admission” seats for most events.  All of the seats in the arena are nicely padded and are very comfortable.  Seats in the upper and lower bowl are slightly smaller than the seats in the “club” sections.  Those seats are, in turn, slightly smaller than the suite seats.  Finally, the largest most comfortable seats seem to be the ones in the “Loge” boxes.  If you have difficulty with heights, you may want to decline an invitation to the “level 4″ suites; they do sit high above the arena floor and in some cases the view feels almost straight down.  However, you could always stay back in the boxed area and enjoy the catering!  The seats in the front 5-7 rows for hockey are on collapsible risers.  These seats differ somewhat in that they seem to be just a hair smaller, and the cup holders are on the short, folding arms (rendering them practically useless, but…).  If your seats are set up on other risers, on the floor, or in other make-shift areas, they will be folding-chair-style seats which are nicely padded, but small and possibly locked together.

Advanced:  Because the arena is not huge, there’s really not a bad seat in the place, and you’re never too far from the action.  The seating in the upper bowl for concerts will cause you to have to look and turn to the right.  In some areas, you’ll have to peer through a railing, a stairway in use, and a piece of Plexiglas.  This is not always the best view.  Also, sound damping has been added to the metal roof in many areas, improving the sound for concerts.  However, above the upper bowl–as well as above the upper suites I think–there is none.  The sound is a little echo-y up there.  Sound down on the floor for concerts has been superb thus far.  However, while the floor seats are nicely padded, they are very close together and locked via “tongue and groove.”  Also, keep in mind when selecting floor seating for concerts that many (most?) people will want to stand the whole time, regardless.  Here are two seating views for hockey:

View From the 106, Near the Top.  Photo: DiPro

View From the 106, Near the Top. Photo: DiPro

Game Play from section 205.  Photo: @Kram209

Game Play from section 205. Photo: @Kram209

 

 

Concourse Map:  Here’s a concourse map, where I’ve added some important landmarks.  I’ll try to do a better job and provide a neater, more accurate one in the future.  It is a 360-degree concourse; you can walk all the way around the arena.  There is a hallway that runs behind the club area and in front of Chickie’s and Pete’s.  That’s the only area where you can’t see the ice or at least the big screens from the concourses.  During concerts, there are curtains which are drawn to block out the light from the concourse.  Click to see a bigger view.

Concourse Map from PPLCenter--scribbles by Kram.

Concourse Map from PPLCenter–scribbles by Kram.

Advanced:  The restrooms on the main concourse on the North side of the arena are the most crowded.  This has been a problem at times–particularly during concerts.  Check the other restroom locations to avoid the longer lines.  As I mentioned above, use the stairway for section(s) 211/210 to access the Miller Lite Loft–labeled MLL on the map.  Just keep going up until you reach a concourse area above the upper bowl.  There will be a bar to your right, and an open area to your left–probably will be used for group functions eventually.  As far as I could tell, there are no restrooms in the loft!  Don’t drink too much up there or you won’t be able to get down all those stairs!

 

Concessions and Team Shops:  The main team shop is in an area on the East end of the arena that I refer to as the “rotunda.”  The store is not terribly large, and they limit access to it to only a few people at a time.  Plan on standing in line to get in.  Phantoms season ticket holders receive a 15% discount on gear–but you must ask for it.  There is another area near the main gate and Tim Horton’s, and a third, very small area near the 8th Street gate which has children’s items.  Word is, a larger, more permanent team shop will open in or near that rotunda area, in January 2015.  For now, there is a small team store open at the corner of 8th and Hamilton–but, only open on non-game days!

There are many, and varied concessions throughout the concourse.  Pricing is steep, but not completely out of line with ballpark and arena prices in the area.  It is more than Coca Cola Park, though, if you want a reference.  I’ve attempted to label some of these things on the concourse map above, but the following are available as you walk the 360 concourse counter-clockwise from the main entrance (Tim Horton’s):

  1. Bavarian Roasted Nuts
  2. Grilled Sausages and Chicken, Hot Dogs
  3. Gourmet Burgers and fries (some > $10, but quality good)
  4. Some Specialty Beers, above and beside
  5. More grilled sausages and Hot Dogs
  6. BBQ
  7. Salads and Wraps
  8. Nacho Stand
  9. Pizza and Italian Fare
  10. Grilled fare, including chicken, and Hot Dogs
  11. Asian noodles (near 8th Street Entrance)
  12. Arena fare (near LVHN Entrance): Hot Dogs and Hamburgers
  13. Chickie’s and Pete’s
  14. Macaroni and Cheese and variations there-of (back near main entrance)
  15. Tacos
  16. Tim Horton’s coffee and pastries

I’ll try to fill these in a little better with menu specifics and prices, as I become more familiar with each stand.  The sausages I’ve had have been good.  The gourmet burger was good as well–albeit a bit pricey.  Grilled chicken skewer was good.

Advanced:   Despite the many and varied offerings, lines have been long and service slow thus far.  Perhaps that will improve, but you many consider eating before you enter the arena, which brings us to:

 

Restaurants:   There are three restaurants “connected” to the arena.  That is to say, they are in the arena block.  Tim Horton’s (“Timmie’s”) Coffee and Pastries, and Chickie’s and Pete’s Sports Bar have access directly to the concourse of the arena!  I’m unsure how access and re-entry work during an event, but word is that you can be checked in and out via scan of your event ticket.  You can take your drink from the bar at Chickie’s and Pete’s in to the arena; however, you cannot take any glass items.  The PPL Center does not allow re-entry; however, they may have a way to regulate it and monitor via ticket scanning at the restaurants.  The third restaurant, Crust, has access outside on Hamilton Street.  They feature coal-fired gourmet pizzas and other interesting fare.  They have additional seating on their second level.  Chickie’s and Pete’s has a more extensive menu than I thought, and is quite large inside.  The pre- and post-game TV shows are broadcast from a sound stage near the door.  That “studio” is also used for some radio broadcasts at other times.

Advanced: There are many, many restaurants and bars nearby, as well.  This is part of the center city revitalization.  On the higher end, consider the Hamilton Kitchen across the street, or the Cosmopolitan on N 6th Street.  The Bay Leaf is on Hamilton Street between 9th and 10th.  ROAR Social House is just across the street from the Arena.  Th Dime will be the restaurant connected with the arena hotel. It will feature dining above the main arena glass gate, and should open in January 2015. The Federal Grill may reopen at some point as well.  But fine dining can be a little “uncomfortable” in hockey attire, so:

For a more casual atmosphere, the Allentown Brew Works is a nice place to visit. There are other pizza, bagel, burrito, and other casual fare choices in the immediate vicinity as well. If it’s lunch time or breakfast time (only), consider the Billy’s Downtown Diner location, nearby.  There may even be a hot dog cart or two about–an excellent choice!  Our friends at Philly Pretzel have an outlet on Hamilton in the 8th Street block–more than just pretzels, you can get a pretzel dog or a pretzel cheese steak sometimes.  And speaking of steaks, Tony Luke’s will open a location downtown soon.  Finally, please note that there is no tailgating in the city-owned lots.  You might get away with having a beverage or a sandwich near your car, but I bet if you put up a tent and pull out a grill, you’ll attract some of that ubiquitous security I spoke of a few paragraphs back.

A word for my Canadian friends: Yes, the arena has a “Timmie’s.”  It’s true!  I know it’s more popular in Canada than McDonalds!  Also, the ROAR Social House has Poutine on the menu!  It’s pricey, but if you’re in the mood…

 

Beer and Adult Beverages:   There are many, and varied beer choices about the arena.  When I have time, I’ll try to map them all out for you.  However, Miller Lite is widely available, as is Bud Light.  Coors Light is available, too.  Local favorite Yuengling Lager is widely available.  Micro-brews and imports are about, as well.  During Phantoms hockey games, 20 oz domestic drafts are $8.  They haven’t been filling them to the top, so that’s a potential problem.  16 oz micros and imports are also $8.  16 oz cans of Bud Light or Miller Lite are also $8, while 12 oz bottle are $6, I believe.  24-oz “bomber” cans are becoming more widely availabe throughout the concourse.  On the domestic side, you can find Bud Light, Miller Lite, Coors Lite, and Lager.  For imports, I’ve seen Labatt’s and Heineken.  They are $9 for domestic and I believe $10 for imports–although it could be more.  Wine and liquor are available up at the Miller Lite Loft, as well as at the bar in Chickie’s and Pete’s.  The wine offerings are pretty pedestrian, but we’re talking about a hockey arena here.  For hockey, I believe that beer sales end and the conclusion of the second intermission at all concourse locations–but continue in the Miller Lite Loft and in C+P.  If you are a guest in one of the Suites, you can proceed down the corridor heading East, and through the glass doors to enter the Miller Lite Loft should you need an adult beverage not provided for you in the suite.  Otherwise, as mentioned above, access the Miller Lite Loft (‘MLL’) from the stairs to sections 211/210 or C+P from the hall roughly behind the club sections 115/116.

Advanced:  Things are a little different during concerts:  Additional “bomber” choices are available on the concourse–as are beer and wine.  Of course, everything should always be available in the Morning Call Club Section, at the bar.

View straight down, from the Miller Lite Loft Photo: Kram209

View straight down, from the Miller Lite Loft
Photo: Kram209

 

Programs:  Most events will have programs for sale.  They may be available from vendors throughout the arena, however, they’re almost always available right inside the door at the  main entrance at 7th/Hamilton–“Tim Horton’s.”  For hockey, the programs are $2.

Advanced:  The hockey programs may be THE SAME for a series of games.  So, if you go to a bunch of games or are a season ticket holder, it might not be necessary to purchase one each time.  Check the dates written on the cover!

Rules and Security:   There may be specific rules for some concerts depending on the artists’ wishes.  However, in general, the PPL Center does not allow re-entry without an additional ticket.  Also, they’ve restricted cameras by saying “no professional lenses” and “no detachable lenses.”  There is no smoking at the arena; I’m unsure if they’ve allowed for an area of smoke and re-enter at this juncture.  Bags will be checked on entry, and a variety of other frisking, metal detectors and other methods have been in use.  It has varied by event thus far, and the staff has been efficient and professional.

 

Dress Code:  There is no specific dress code for arena events.  Perhaps you’ll want to dress according to which restaurant you’ll be eating in prior to, or after the game?  Otherwise, the thing to keep in mind is that they need to keep that ice suitable for competitive hockey.  That means it’s kinda cool in there.  In the fall or summer months when it’s warm outside, you might want to consider a sweater (hey, buy a hockey sweater!) for the games.  Other events during hockey season might also have the arena inside temp on the cooler side.  Please take that into account when choosing your attire.

 

Internet and Communications:   The metal roof of the arena structure, coupled with the surrounding tall buildings, has left the arena bowl and floor with very poor cell coverage.  I’ve heard this from both AT&T and Verizon customers.  We have pointed this out to them in previous posts, so I hope they’re listening; having “repeaters” installed with a roof antenna shouldn’t be too big of a deal.  Perhaps they can work on a deal to give Verizon +/or AT&T some advertising in exchange?  I’ve been mostly unable to access public WiFi within the building, as well.  I know it’s good to just put the handheld devices away and enjoy the game, but it does become somewhat of a safety hazard in 2014, when everyone is expected to be available in case of emergencies–not to mention keeping track of the kiddos and so on.  As someone who has to be “on call” on occasion, I’d appreciate it very much if they could improve the coverage within the arena structure.

Advanced:   There is a PennTeleData hotspot available, if you qualify for that service.  Perhaps Service Electric will provide a connection like at Coca Cola Park–but it’s mostly unnecessary for game view what with the giant video screens.  You may be able to access the LVHN network from their building next door.  There are wireless networks set up for the performers (concerts) and the press box (I assume).  If you qualify, or know the right people, that can be handy.  I was able to get a pretty good cell signal out in the “rotunda” area, by the windows that face 7th Street.

 

“Glass” Seats:  Sitting “on the glass” is a neat way to watch a game.  A season ticket package on the glass at the PPL Center will run you $1220.00 per season on a 3- or 5-year contract for Phantoms hockey.  This comes to about $29/game on the 42-game package; the Phantoms have the single-game price for these seats at $48 (plus fees…).  On the secondary market, you might find these seats for $79 each, or so.  “Glass” tickets also allow you access to the Morning Call Club area.

 

“Club Level”:  There’s no “level” for the club.  The “Morning Call Club” is located behind sections 115 and 116, and includes the center-ice half of sections 117 and 114 and maybe more–as the latest map I’ve seen has it expanded even further.  The “Club” has it’s own bar, of course, as well as it’s own rest rooms.  Some concession items are available within the club, as well as a carving station with premium choices.  Tables and chairs and flat-screens are about, as in other club-levels in arenas and stadiums.  You can access the club only with an appropriate ticket, near the rear of section 113 at the main entrance, or via the concourse at a door at the rear of sections 116-117.  The seats in the club sections are slightly larger and slightly further apart.  The “pitch” of the arena rows also appears a little steeper, providing improved site lines.  On a season-ticket basis, seats in the Club cost roughly $42/seat/game.  I believe they are sold out, but they do provide for “right of first refusal” on ALL arena events–kinda nice.  On the secondary market, you can purchase them for around $65 each for hockey.

The Morning Call Club

The Morning Call Club

Advanced:  “Loge” boxes are located at the rear of the club sections.  Mostly, they are leased by companies like the luxury boxes up above.  However, some may be available for per-event lease.  They have available catering, and wait staff, large leather-like chairs, and private flat-screens–but are small, perhaps only 5-10 seats each.  Ice-level “bunker” suites are located down below the club section, and are probably most easily accessed by elevator should you have a ticket for one.  These suites provide NO view of the ice or arena stage; however, they include club section seating via the two mini tunnels in section 114 and 117.  There are nice lounge areas down there, as well as some game-room-type things like foose-ball and rod-hockey.  The suites themselves have VERY large flat screens for enjoying the action without being in your seat.

 

Group Areas and Suites:   I believe groups will be hosted in sections 208 and 202 in most cases.  In addition, there are some premium locations you can rent on a per-game basis.  “Party Suites” of a couple styles.  The BSI Ice Suite is located near the East tunnel, where the players enter the ice.  Group guests can greet the players on the way to the ice!  The buffet and group area is underneath section 109, with glass-side access in front of section 108 and 109.  They are able to accommodate large groups there.  Luxury boxes up above sections 112 and 113 are expandable to provide for varying sized groups.  Prices may vary depending on the type of event, but 26 tickets for a regular season hockey game will run approximately $1400.00.  And, that doesn’t include the catering, which has to be purchased from the arena catering service.  The catering menu is very nice, though, and not overly expensive considering the ticket prices and other arena food options.   Suite rentals also include a certain number of parking passes in the arena garage–where I believe you can take an elevator directly to the suite levels.

Advanced:

Loge Box

Loge Box

Executive Suite

Executive Suite

BSI Ice Suite

BSI Ice Suite

larger, "party" suite

larger, “party” suite

 

 

 

 

Ice-Level "Bunker" Suite

Ice-Level “Bunker” Suite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PPL Center Arena Seating Chart Samples:

Typical Concert Seating

Typical Concert Seating

SteelHawks Professional Indoor Football, starting Spring, 2015

SteelHawks Professional Indoor Football, starting Spring, 2015

Hockey Seating

Hockey Seating

And that’s a wrap,

See you at the arena!  “How YOU doin’?”

@Kram209

 

 

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

SteelHawks Schedule Released!

The SteelHawks open on the road at the newest PIFL franchise, Erie, on March 29.  They’ll head to Nashville the following week, before opening at home–in their new home–in the PPL Center on Sunday April 12 at 4PM.  The IronPigs are home that day with a 1:35PM start, which should allow for something of a doubleheader for some of us.  The only other conflict is on Saturday June 6, when the IronPigs start at 6:35 and the SteelHawks at 7PM.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!

primary_steelhawks_logo

 

Schedule, 2015:

March 29: at Erie

April 3: at Nashville

April 12:  HERSHEY (home opener) 4PM

April 18:  ERIE 7PM

April 25:  at Trenton

May 2:  COLUMBUS 7PM

May 9:  at Columbus

May 17: ALABAMA 3PM

May 24: Off, Memorial Day Weekend

May 29 (Friday): RICHMOND 7PM

June 6:  TRENTON 7PM

June 13:  at Alabama 8PM

June 20:  at Harrisburg 7PM

 

I like the 3PM-4PM Sundays–should allow for plenty of kiddos to attend the games!  Looks really good!

 

Go Hawks!

@Kram209

 

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Filed under Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Steel Hawks