By Richie Juliano
The Youngstown Phantoms’ front office is hustling to find fun, unique ways to fill the stands with fans for the 2021 season. The Phantoms play their home games in downtown Youngstown at the Covelli Centre.
Arielle McNutt, director of marketing and media relations with the Phantoms, is now in her fourth season with the front office, she helped adjust the games, such as changing seating protocols, for COVID-19 safety.
“We are allowed to have up to 1,500 fans in the building. We do pod seating so everything is spread out six feet,” McNutt said.
The Phantoms play all but one of their home games on the weekend, with ticket prices beginning at $15. The Phantoms have a stacked month of games in April, which includes eight home contests.
Along with low ticket prices, the Phantoms have implemented Drink in the Rink every Saturday night during home games, which features $1 beers until the end of second intermission.
“It’s a great way to bring college students down,” McNutt said. “It’s the most exciting and fun experience on ice. You can’t beat dollar beers for a couple hours.”
The team has talent from across the globe. The roster includes six players hailing from outside the United States. One of those players is team captain Reilly Funk, who is from Portage, a small city in Manitoba, Canada.
“It was definitely a change when I first got here last year. I have grown to love it — love being here for every second of it,” Funk said.
The Phantoms have veteran coach and general manager Brad Patterson leading the way this season. Patterson has been a part of the Phantoms coaching staff since 2009.
“The players come from everywhere — it’s worldwide. That’s why our league has been known as one of the best in the world,” Patterson said.
Patterson, like Funk, is from Canada, the country renowned for and that developed hockey as we know it. They both enjoyed strong fan support in the Covelli Centre.
“It has been terrific. To feel the support is huge. That’s what these guys play for — to play in front of people,” Patterson said.
The fan loyalty helps the team get pumped up in the rink.
“It makes it so much easier to show up to the rink. They are so loud and so great,” Funk said. “We got such a big second half coming up, and seeing them in the rink is going to be so key to us.”
The Phantoms have a plethora of promotions in the next couple of weeks. There are six promo nights on the schedule in March and April. Fan appreciation night is the last promotion, ending the season April 24.
To see the Phantoms in action at home, fans can call 330-747-PUCK or grab tickets at the box office before the game. For more information, visit the Youngstown Phantoms’ website.