GLENS FALLS -- Season ticket sales for the Adirondack Phantoms’ 2013-14 season are lagging significantly amid uncertainty for the future of hockey in Glens Falls.
“I think we’re at 35 percent overall of where we were at this time last year,” said Chris Porreca, the team’s executive vice president.
Porreca expects sales to pick up now that it is all but certain the American Hockey League team will remain at the Glens Falls Civic Center next season.
“I’ve had four or five come in this morning with renewals,” Porreca said Tuesday.
In January, the city and the Phantoms announced an agreement to keep the team in Glens Falls for the 2013-14 season, with a provision that allows the city to continue recruiting a permanent hockey tenant.
The owners said they would relinquish their option and play elsewhere next season if the city recruited another hockey team before April 1.
That deadline has passed, but under the agreement, the team has until May 1 to formally exercise its option to return, Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond said Tuesday.
“It looks like they’re with us for another year,” he said.
The Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, are expected to move to a new arena being built in Allentown, Pa., for the 2014-15 season.
Porreca said the team intends to exercise its option to remain in Glens Falls for next season, and just needs to do the paperwork.
“Our intention, still, is to come back,” he said.
Porreca said the management hopes to boost season ticket sales by promoting “milestones” in local hockey — the fifth season the Phantoms have played at the Civic Center, and 25 non-consecutive seasons that AHL teams have played at the city-owned arena.
The management is designing a commemorative logo to use next season.
“It’s always nice to have one of those milestones. And we have two of them,” he said.
Porreca said he expects season ticket sales will pick up at the seven remaining home games this season, including at 7 p.m. Friday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and at 7 p.m. Saturday against Rochester.
In February, Diamond said he had telephone conversations with representatives of two teams that were considering relocating for the 2013-14 season.
He later identified one of the teams as the Connecticut Whale, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers, after owners of the Whale reached an agreement to remain in Hartford.
Diamond has not identified the other team.
He said Tuesday there does not appear to be any interest from other teams to relocate next season, but officials will continue their recruitment efforts, in hopes of recruiting a new AHL team for the 2014-15 season.