ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – 18 News has learned the First Arena has secured an agreement with Ticketmaster for the inaugural season of the Elmira River Sharks. Mark Margeson, the Chairman of the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, said the tickets should be available online sometime next week. You can currently buy tickets by calling First Arena or stopping by the Box Office. The team’s first home game is set for Friday October 13th against the Binghamton Black Bears.
The official River Sharks merch store inside First Arena held its grand opening Friday. Fans are getting their first look at the team’s three brand-new jerseys.
“It’s the first day we’re open here, noon to six. We’re going to be open again for a few hours Saturday morning, kicking things off,” said John Kliment, the team’s Broadcaster and Director of Media Relations. “Got the first look at the brand-new jerseys, all the great new stuff here, some really great stuff. We’re really excited, and we have more coming in every day. Right now, the numbered jerseys are going for 189 dollars. In the future we’ll also have replica jerseys at $108.”
18 News also learned Elmira College hockey is not planning to return for any games at the Arena this season. Elmira College Athletics Director Rhonda Faunce said the season’s schedule is already set at “The Dome” or Murray Athletic Center in Horseheads. With First Arena under new management, we wanted to know if there were any new talks about making First Arena the home ice rink of Elmira College.
“Anything like that get talked about in this new era, or not yet?” reporter Nick Dubina asked Chairman Margeson.
“So, Nick, are you stirring the pot? Are you stirring the pot here?” Margeson replied with a smile.
“There’s always been discussion. It’s always been that way for 23 years. Originally when this place was built, the purple seats indicated that we would eventually like Elmira College here.
There are ongoing discussions all the time. However, in order to meet the requirements for Elmira College, there needs to be some work done in the area of the locker rooms. We would have to have male and female locker rooms, and we would have to upgrade those to make sure they met the requirements of college sports.
In phone call, George Winner, the Chair of the Elmira College Board of Trustees said:
“Elmira College has always been interested in bringing its hockey program to First Arena, if the right circumstances were to occur. We would love to. It would be good for downtown and it would be good for the City.”
Winner said there have not been any official discussions with the arena’s new management. Mr. Margeson said the locker rooms could be upgraded in the future. However, he says the priority now is to keep renovating other parts of the arena. The work includes transforming the former practice rink into turf for sports like soccer and lacrosse.
Beyond sports, the arena’s event calendar remains empty. Margeson says that’s because management is first working on setting up the schedules for youth, junior and professional hockey before booking other events.
“I feel good about things,” said Margeson. “We are under duress. We do have a lot of work to do as you can see in the facility. We’ve got a lot of work going on and a lot of folks putting a lot of time into this place. But we’ll be ready to go. As soon as the first game is ready, we’ll be here.”
You can watch the full interview with Mark Margeson below: