Phantoms welcome four millionth fan

Rich Shewman of Douglasville, Pa., walked through the doors of the Wachovia Spectrum at 4:37 on Sunday afternoon as the four-millionth fan in team history.

Shewman was showered with confetti and cheers as he walked into the Phantoms record books. Upon his entry, Phantoms chief operating officer Frank Miceli presented Shewman with a custom Phantoms “Four-Million” jersey, featuring the number 4 on the back, the word MILLION on the nameplate, and the number 4,000,000 down each sleeve, as well as a commemorative plaque marking the milestone.

Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider was also on hand to greet Shewman and welcome him and his family to the game against the Lowell Devils.

Shewman’s daughters Kate, Elizabeth and Sara came to center ice to drop a ceremonial first puck before the game, and the group was taken to a suite for the evening. In addition, Shewman received the following:

  • A commemorative plaque marking the milestone
  • Free admission to all Phantoms home games for the next four million seconds after becoming the winner – translates to four free tickets to each Phantoms home game through March 11
  • Four tickets to the Philadelphia Phantoms vs. Manchester Monarchs game in Manchester, N.H., on Saturday, February 9 – a round trip of approximately four million feet, or just over 750 miles
  • A four-megapixel (four million pixels) digital camera, charged and ready for use in the evening’s Photo Night event where Phantoms fans can have their picture taken with all Phantoms players after the game
  • Four million microliters (two two-liter bottles) of Pepsi
  • A copy of the book Four Million by O. Henry

The Phantoms reached the four-million fan plateau in their 462nd home game, good for an all-time average of 8,658 fans per game. The four-million total, which counts regular-season games only, includes 19 sellouts of the 17,380-seat Wachovia Spectrum and five sellout crowds of 18,000 and up at the Wachovia Center.

Over the years, Philadelphia has consistently been one of the American Hockey League’s most well-attended franchises. The Phantoms sold out seven consecutive games through one stretch from Jan. 2 to Feb. 20, 1998. The team led the league in attendance in each of its first six seasons, and holds the American Hockey League record for overall attendance (480,106) and average attendance (12,002), both set in 1998-99.

On December 6, 1998, the Phantoms welcomed their one-millionth fan in team history in just their 95th home game, the fastest pace in AHL history. Three of the four largest regular season crowds in AHL history have been in Philadelphia, as well as two of the top three largest playoff crowds. The sellout crowd of 20,103 to attend Game 4 of the 2005 Calder Cup Finals at the Wachovia Center is the largest playoff crowd, and second-largest overall, in AHL history.