- It’s great to have hockey back. I know, it’s not our Phantoms yet–but for NHL fans and Flyers fans it was a chance to see that game up close and near-by. And, it takes the edge off the end of the IronPigs season and the end of the Reading Fightins season following their loss in the playoffs.
- I’m not “game ready” yet. I have to re-train myself on how to watch the game. I like to watch the plays develop and the play away from the puck, but I found myself getting lost and not being able to find the puck–gotta learn how to look again. It should get better when we get our team in town and I learn their numbers.
- The floor looks great. An off-season refinishing of the concourse floors was completed in order to remediate some cracks in the concrete. The new, finished floors look great and really dress the place up.
- “Opening Day” syndrome was in effect. I often make fun of opening day on the baseball side, because folks that we won’t see again until June show up in droves and clog the concession lines. Nobody’s had arena food in a while, it seemed, as everyone lined up for concessions and created much traffic on the concourses. Some media reported many empty seats, but I’ll tell you where they were: They were in line for something. They were in line for beer, or food, or the bathroom, or the smoking deck or the store. For those troubled by the lines inside the arena, let me assure you: It will get better as the season progresses. It always does. It is this way on opening day for baseball, too, and they’ve been doing it for a lot longer.
- Security still needs help. The security lines outside the arena are another matter, though. What was a sometimes problem last season seems to be worse. The lines were unbelievable. Set up more scan lines, open earlier, turn down the gain on those wands, and provide better oversight for the guys and gals doing the scanning. I know the drill well. My keys, metal money clip, and phone were in my hand above my head as I approached the guard. Still, the eye drops in my pocket set off the scanner and they had to start over. Crimony. Eye drops.
- Running out of beer is not good. Same thing here. I can make a lot of excuses for first day and stuff, but don’t run out of beer, man!
- I’m done with the “professional fan.” Look, I’m sorry if I got the rabble all roused on the “professional fan” thing. My official point is that it’s unnecessary, distracting, kinda gross, and a waste of money. I do support the “Phorce Energy Team” and Bow-tie Ben. I think they do a great job and are a necessary part of the evening’s entertainment. The rest of us will get rowdy enough when there’s something to be rowdy about. Good for Cameron Hughes for inventing his own industry. People do respond to him, so in that way, I guess he’s effective. Visit his website here. Comment board banter suggests that if I don’t like him I should just ignore him. So I will. No more mention of the “professional fan” here, ever again (by me anyway). But don’t take that as an endorsement.
- The game. It was good to see goals and good to get the win. I was impressed by the Konecny kid. Less so by Provorov, but it was only one game and as I said, I’m not “game ready” yet. Those first-rounders are probably headed back to Juniors unless they make the Flyers–so no worries for the Phantoms regardless. There was some sloppy hockey as it was the first pre-season game, but also some passes and puck handling that were a notch better than what we’re used to. It was fun to watch.
- Next Year. It’s to be an annual thing, they tell me. It couldn’t be done last season because the building dates and details couldn’t be finalized soon enough to get it on the schedule. I think if they can draw close to 8,000 for a week-day preseason game at $50/seat (give or take, but remember club and suites and glass cost more, while ends and uppers cost less) that’s a win for everyone. The reason the Phillies don’t come to Coca Cola Park is that they don’t have to: They can draw 35k in South Philly for two “on deck series” games and split the proceeds with the Pirates rather than come to the little biddy Coca Cola Park–despite the fact that the Phillies team has been dreadful the last couple years. Looking at the Philly attendance won’t necessarily provide the best comparison for the Flyers this season due to the Papal visit. I gathered the attendance in Brooklyn for the mirror game with the Islanders drew far, far fewer fans last night. For these
- The Promotion Schedule. If you haven’t seen it yet, I put up an exclusive “first look” at the 2015-2016 Phantoms promotional schedule earlier today. I think the promotions are really good. There’s a nice mix of different things, from theme nights to player interaction opportunities, to yes, more T-Shirts (memo: black please, or maybe white) and another Eagles night. One thing I like is what I perceive as an increase in Kids giveaways–despite the fact that my kiddos won’t be eligible soon. I think it’s a great way to build the fan base. I suspect more themes, sponsors, and giveaways will be added to the list I published here as the season approaches.
See you back at the arena on Saturday, October 3 for a preseason tilt with Hartford versus our Phantoms. I’ll have previews, some rosters stuff, and a frame for our Phantoms coverage as that game approaches.
See you at the arena,