Best of the Region Shining Stars

Sons of Philly are back

2009-12-04T00:55:00Z Sons of Philly are backBy TIM McMANUS tmcmanus@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star
December 04, 2009 12:55 am  • 

For the better part of 15 years, Donna Momorella had one of the easiest commutes of any Philadelphia Phantoms fan. She could make the trip from the front door of her South Philadelphia home to her usual seat in minutes.

These days, following her favorite team requires more of a juggling act. Catching a Phantoms broadcast means finding a reliable internet connection, wherever she can, sometimes on her cell phone. If she wants to post live updates to the Phantoms blog she maintains, she needs two computers - one to watch the feed on AHL Live, and another to access her blog.

Momorella didn't consider jumping ship when the team moved to Glens Falls.

"I couldn't think of not rooting for them," Momorella said.

But like many devoted fans left behind, she had to find different - and less convenient ways - to follow her favorite team. It's taken some creativity, and some miles on the car, to stay loyal.

Friday night, Momorella will make the less-than-a-mile trek to the Wachovia Center to watch the Adirondack Phantoms play a "home game" against the Norfolk Admirals.

"I don't want to shortchange the Glens Falls fans, but if they don't mind sharing the team with us for a little while, we won't mind," Momorella said.

Despite the distance, many members of the Philadelphia fan base have remained active followers of the team. Nicole Thomas, of Wayne, Pa., has already been to Glens Falls, Bridgeport and Hershey, with trips to Wilkes-Barre and Binghamton planned.

Thomas brought 18 people with her to the Civic Center for the opener. In Hershey last week, she said there were 30 or 40 people out by the Phantoms bus.

"I don't think you should give up on a team just because you move or they move," Thomas said.

In that sense, Philadelphia and Adirondack fans have something in common.

"When the team got pulled out of Philly, it hurt," Momorella said. "I can emphasise with anyone who can talk about when Adirondack lost the Red Wings."

When they were in town for the opener, fans approached both Momorella and Thomas, easy to pick out in their Philadelphia jerseys.

"They were trying to tell me they'd take care of the team. It's nice of them to do that," Momorella said.

Neither of the two have abandoned their passions.

Last season, Momorella wrote a blog chronicling the Phantoms' last season at the Spectrum. It lives on this year as the "Flyers Farm Team Chronicles: A Long-Distance Phantoms Phan Keeps Tabs on the Team." Thomas, an amateur photographer, has posted thousands of photos on her online Flickr account of Phantoms and Flyers games and events.

Thomas said she didn't think about not photographing Phantoms events after the team left.

"I'm a little sad at some of the things I've seen go on ..." Thomas said. "But I will say, it's OK if they're not here. It just means more road trips."

Except, of course, on Friday night.

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