Correction: A previous version of this article listed inaccurate members of the LLCs leasing First Arena. The correct information has been updated.

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The tenants of First Arena have announced that pro hockey will be returning to Elmira next fall, bringing on a new team with a new name.

Donner said the company has decided to bring back a professional hockey team, the Elmira Mammoth, in October 2022 as part of the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL). Donner also said the search for a head coach will begin “immediately”. In the announcement, Donner said the Arena has already raised over $500,000 in sponsorships from local businesses and organizations.

“I think long term, it’s a recipe for success,” Donner said.

Donner explained the name Mammoth was inspired by the name of the Chemung River. “Chemung”, as Donner explained, means “place of the big horn” in indigenous languages, referring to wooly mammoths.

David Sheen of the Chemung County IDA also highlighted the plans to make Arena serve “all walks of life” with more events than just sports. Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell added that First Arena has his full support.

“Elmira’s committed to helping Steve and his staff,” Mandell said. “I’m just so excited this arena is back. It’s alive; it’s the center of our downtown. It’s so important to bring people back in this arena.”

Don Kirnan, commissioner of the FPHL said that this is an affordable and sustainable decision for the league. “That’s the key,” Kirnan said. “When a team loses money—like what happened here with the East Coast League—they’re great owners, they bled, they spent a lot of money. But it wasn’t sustainable.” Kirnan added that he’s seen a great community response from Elmira locals and their excitement at Binghamton games.

Donner signed a new lease with First Arena’s owner, the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, back in the fall of 2021. CAN-USA and the CCIDA could not come to terms on a new agreement last summer for First Arena’s use. The CCIDA was then able to negotiate a new deal with Donner’s ownership group, who has been aiming to bring pro hockey back after the Elmira Enforcers did not play at First Arena this past season in the FPHL.

On December 1, 2021, the CCIDA and the newly-formed Tadross Donner Sports and Entertainment signed a lease agreement. Weeks later, the tenant company was renamed Tenant Mammoth Sports and Entertainment, still with the involvement of Hollywood producer Michael Tadross Jr., who was part of the original LLC. The lease also said that the company would pay $1-per-year rent while also excluding any former tenants, which includes former Elmira Enforcers owner Robbie Nichols, from being involved with the building or any future team.

Uses for the arena laid out in the lease include concerts, conventions, family shows, soccer, lacrosse, bull riding, hockey, wrestling, ultimate fighting/and/or mixed martial arts. Other events can be held with written consent from the IDA.

The Elmira Pioneers will also hold their annual season kickoff press conference at 4:00 p.m. on April 27. The press conference will address the Pioneers’ upcoming season with some announcements on promotional events and roster moves.