Ground breaks on new Allentown arena, expected to be Phantoms home in 2014

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The ground technically broke months ago, but dignitaries were on hand to ceremoniously kick off construction of the Phantoms' new Allentown home.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the new arena in Allentown was held Thursday, two weeks after the team announced that they'll be called the Lehigh Valley Phantoms after that new arena opens in the fall of 2014.

On hand for the ceremony were the dignitaries you see above: Phantoms co-owners Rob and Jim Brooks, Pennsylvania state Senator Pat Browne (R, 16th District), Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski (D), AHL President Dave Andrews and two members of your Philadelphia Flyers family, John Paddock and Paul Holmgren.

The groundbreaking actually took place months ago, as evidenced by the giant muddy hole at 7th and Hamilton Streets in downtown Allentown, but Wednesday's ceremony was part of a continued effort to get the team name in front of hockey fans in the Lehigh Valley.

The new arena will seat about 8,500 for Phantoms games, and according to the Allentown Morning Call, 1,700 season tickets have already been sold. The team will begin playing games at the arena at the start of the 2014-15 season. They had hoped to begin play there next season but legal and local political wrangling held up the construction of the building.

The Phantoms will almost certainly play in Glens Falls again next season, but for now a new lease at the Glens Falls Civic Center has not been signed for the 2013-14 season.

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