Much consternation as we await the third season of professional hockey in downtown Allentown. Updates on the Promotional Schedule, meLVin, practice event, and other notes:
Everybody’s happy that hockey is back. Downtown was a-buzz Wednesday night with the Flyers–Phantoms in Flyers clothing, but whatever–in town to battle the hated Devils. The restaurants were happy–and full. The parking authority was happy to have my $6. The arena workers were happy to be back on the job on a more regular basis. The Phantoms management was happy to host a hockey event for the first time since April. And the fans were certainly happy to be back experiencing the sights and sounds of hockey once more.
But, there were rumbles:
meLVin has a new “best friend”
I’m sure it’s something the Phantoms would have liked to keep quiet. I hesitate even writing about it, but it is something that has the “phan-base” on edge. It’s inevitable, I suppose. Folks who work for minor league teams move on to bigger and better all the time–and that certainly should include the “best friend” of the mascot. So now we’ll all be watching the “Dax re-boot” for differences: Will he skate? Will he ride the ATV? Are his mannerisms slightly different? Is the whistling in a different pattern?
It’s not as easy as it looks, to be sure. But it’s still just a mascot: Something for the kiddos and someone to legitimately rev the crowd up to save money on T-Shirt Guy. Hopefully hockey will get here and we can stop talking about this and let the “friendship” develop organically.
I still wouldn’t mind seeing a cameo by Phlex someday–the “Ghost of Phlex”? Like some kind of A Christmas Carol type thing? C’mon, there’s ways to do it…
Reaction to the Promo Schedule
I posted a preliminary version of the promo schedule the other day. I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets augmented at some point. Maybe not, but at least that’s the way I would do it. I would spend the off-season deciding what type of promotions and themes in incorporate, line up the sponsors and have everything ready to go awaiting the schedule release in August. Then, I’d line up my themes and give-aways with specific dates and clear with sponsors. Only then could I try to sell additional sponsored promotions. I’d get a preliminary list out right away to try to help my sales team and satisfy fans and sponsors, then I’d proceed to try to aggrandize it.
But maybe they don’t need them. The season ticket base is very strong, and the hockey is enough for most of us. Hence, the proliferation of “theme” nights this season. Giveaways are tough, with the different entrances, and I think they don’t want to disappoint folks: We’ve seen that a ton at the IronPigs with 3,500 giveaways and 10,000 fans. Perhaps some day we’ll get bobbleheads and other neat stuff rather than the pedestrian hats and T-Shirts. I wouldn’t mind a puck giveaway; that’s not too expensive, is it? Perhaps fear we’ll all get angry and toss them on the ice.
It was observed that there are fewer “player interaction” nights compared with previous seasons. This is something the Phantoms organization has done very well over their short tenure downtown–providing access to the players in the form of autograph nights and photo nights and skating nights. However, these types of things have limits based on the players’ game schedule, with regard to what is allowed post-game. In addition, some events are being reserved for the season ticket holders (see below) and I imagine there may be something (I don’t know for sure here, I’m just guessing) in the works for the Phan Club as well. The jersey auction will involve the players, too.
So, keep your eyes peeled for the official promo schedule release from the team–as well as possible changes and additions as the season rolls on. We’ll always update the promotions in our “Hockey Night” posts prior to each game.
One more quick note: I hope the Phantoms communicate stuff. They had very nice poster-schedules to give out following the game on Wednesday. Perhaps they will have them next weekend as well, for the pre-season games. They should let fans know about them; it’s a nice addition to my office and saves me from squinting at the printed .pdf or and un-folded pocket schedule!
Talkin’ ’bout PRACTICE!
In a new event for this season, Season Ticket Holders have been invited to watch the premier practice of the Phantoms 2016-17 squad tomorrow morning. Doors open at 10AM for the ticketed event, with the players set to take the ice at 10:30, and fans observing from the Morning Call Club. I don’t know if they’ll have free eats for us, or if the bar will be open (hey, c’mon, I took the day off) but with Timmie’s and Chickie’s steps away, it matters little. After practice, coaches will hold a “Q&A” with fans in the club. Then, players will be available around the concourse for autographs; fans are encouraged to bring along items to be signed.
This is a really nice perk for Season Ticket Holders. If you have not received your tickets via email, contact your rep. I know the IronPigs are (finally) planning something like this for “Members” this upcoming Spring.
Other News and Notes
- I didn’t get to wander around the arena much the other night, but didn’t notice much new or different, either. The new walk-through metal detectors are not in yet.
- The first season, I bemoaned the number of Wednesday games–thinking it was holding down our attendance total. But, you know what? I kind of like them. I can head downtown straight from work, enjoy a couple beverages and head to the game all relaxed-like. We don’t have another Wednesday until mid-November, then one per month through April. I’ll be looking forward to them.
- We’ve got two pre-season games back-to-back next weekend, Friday and Saturday. Those games come as Allentown Cocktail Week comes to a close. Stay tuned and we’ll update you on what events you might want to check out before or after the games next weekend.
- During those pre-season games, Season Ticket Holders should be able to pick up our ticket books for the season. Your preseason tickets should have been emailed to you by now.
- Word is, Crust is getting a re-launch as “99 Bottles,” a craft-brew-centered jawn, which will maintain the coal-fired oven. I’m not sure it’s associated or a franchise, but a glance at the 99 Bottles restaurant near Pittsburgh might give you an idea. It’s not a unique concept downtown, though, with BrewWorks, Bell Hall, Cork and Cage, and grain. all featuring craft beer. It’s worth a try though, as downtown continues to evolve.
- I re-did my popular “parking” post. Just google “allentown arena parking” to get there. Share with your friends if they’re looking for where to park for a game or event. I’ll re-do my “area faq” shortly, in advance of the all star game. Regulars, please let me know of any suggestions for either post, can be emailed to kramof209(at)gmail.
- Finally, check out the newly designed page over at PhanNation.Org It’s been re-done with the new logo and everything. The forums might be a place to go and discuss all phantoms issues with your fellow fans. Join the club, if you haven’t already; the new T-Shirt is long-sleeve–perfect for layering under your game-day jersey!
So hopefully we can get to some regular season hockey soon, and put all this stuff aside! 🙂
See you at the arena,