Ah yes Allentown, the city known for Billy Joel, Muhlenberg College, Dorney park, and Yoccos hotdogs. But now Allentown will also be known as Phantomtown. No, this isn’t a cheesy ghost town from a Scooby Doo episode, but a new mecca for minor league hockey. Starting in 2014 Allentown will be the home for the Philadelphia flyers American Hockey League affiliate and will be called the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. From 1996-2009 the Phantoms called the Spectrum Arena in Philadelphia, yes the spectrum where Rocky Balboa won the title, their home. The Phantoms became
one of the AHL’s most popular and successful teams, including two Calder Cup championships. The phantoms hold a special place in my heart because my first hockey game was in 1997 when the Phantoms played in my hometown against the Beast of New Haven. While the Beast may be gone, the Phantoms have endured as one of the longest running minor league franchises. But when the Spectrum was demolished in 2009 the team moved north to become the Adirondack Phantoms. In Philly the Phantoms had one of the biggest followings for a minor league sports team and soon there was a public outcry to keep the team in Philadelphia but ultimately they decided to move the team to Allentown. This was after a heated competition between Allentown and
Camden, New Jersey to lure the franchise back from Adirondack. Allentown won the rights and began building the new “Allentown Arena”. The arena will be at the corner of 7th street and Hamilton Streets in the downtown and is expected to open in the fall of 2014. The new arena will hold 8,500 fans for hockey and 10,000 for concerts and is estimated to cost of around 270 million dollars. The arena has been deemed a multi-purpose arena and is looking to host between 140 and 200 events annually. The arena will feature retractable stands for concerts and trade shows and featuring multiple suites. While this price tag may be steep the arena is for much more than hockey. While the Phantoms will be the primary draw, and were the major reason for the development of the arena, its ultimate goal is help stimulate the economy for Allentown. While this a great for stimulating businesses for the downtown Allentown area, the hockey fans, especially the Flyer fans, will enjoy watching professional hockey and seeing the future stars of the NHL. I would recommend going for even none hockey fans, because in my personal opinion there is nothing more exciting than a live hockey game. Plus, you only live once! The new arena will also allow more concerts and other entertainment that even a greater amount of the Lehigh Valley community can enjoy.
The new Phantoms Arena won’t just bring hockey to this area but opportunities and events that the Lehigh Valley couldn’t even imagine. It will without a doubt allow for the Muhlenberg and Allentown community to have new and memorable experiences. If you would like to see the construction progress and stadium renderings go to phantomsarena.com. Thanks and Go Phantoms!!!