ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Friday the 13th was supposed to be the first home opener for the new Elmira River Sharks. Now we’re learning more about a dangerous problem that caused the opener to be delayed to October 21st. At a meeting of the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency, Chairman Mark Margeson said a power surge that broke the arena’s ice maker, also caused an ammonia leak.
“The arena is moving forward very well. We had a challenge with the ice plant,” said Margeson. “We actually had an insurance claim because of a problem with a power surge that fried part of the system and we’re working on that. The ammonia was a serious issue because it was a leak and that can be very dangerous. It can cause an explosion.”
The IDA says it spent $8,650 to pump the ammonia out of the arena.
“When you talk about ammonia, that relates directly to the ice plant,” said Joe Roman, the Executive Director of the Chemung County Industrial Development Agency. “Obviously we have to get that done as quick as possible to get ice down. We’re already late as everyone knows. The first game was supposed to already happen. They’re playing up in Tompkins County. So, we have to have the boards in place so we can have hockey, obviously once the ice gets down. So just so you know, we have to move on these things, we can’t wait if we’re going to have that thing operational.”
Chairman Margeson told 18 News the old ice maker is beyond repair and a new one will eventually be installed. In the meantime, the arena has hooked up a temporary chiller. Mr. Margeson says water will start flowing into the rink Saturday to turn it into ice.
At the meeting, Mr. Margeson also raised safety concerns with the arena’s new lock system.
“The key FOB, we’re trying to find a way to make sure that it’s safe in there because we’ve had situations where the doors won’t lock and we’ve had some folks hanging out in there that are cold in the evenings, and we’ve had to take them out.”
Mr. Margeson says other renovations are ongoing at the arena, like replacing the old boards that surround the rink. The practice rink is also being turned into turf for sports like soccer and lacrosse.
The River Sharks home opener is now set for Saturday October 21st against the Watertown Wolves. Mr. Margeson told 18 News he is confident the ice and the arena will be ready.