ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Hockey is coming back to Elmira’s First Arena.
In an exclusive interview with 18 Sports, Chemung County Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) Chairman, Mark Margeson, tells us that a new Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL) team will be at First Arena. The announcement comes after the former tenant, Mammoth Sports & Entertainment, was evicted last month after the county cited unpaid utility bills in excess of $250,000 and lack of financial communication and documentation.
The CCIDA currently owns First Arena and has gone through multiple tenants in recent years including CAN-USA Sports, the same group who owns the Elmira Pioneers, and, most recently Mammoth Sports & Entertainment.
The new FPHL team, which will be named in the coming weeks, will be started by the league and an IDA management group. Financially, the IDA will be supporting the team and venue along with potential help from the city of Elmira and Chemung County. Margeson says that this is the best move forward for the community.
“We have reached an agreement on how to move forward with the Federal Hockey League once again,” Margeson said. “But the important thing also is that youth hockey is going to be a very big part of this. The junior hockey team is going to be a big part of this,” added Margeson.
In terms of more events hitting First Arena outside of hockey, Margeson says more is coming.
“In addition, we will also have more events.”
As for the management of the overall facility and entertainment events, Margeson says no one person is going to make this operation succeed. It needs to be a full team effort.
“We have a proposed management team to work with the team to manage the facility,” added Margeson. “To make sure we have eyes on it on a daily basis, the facility’s protected from being damaged, that it’s clean and a safe place to go.”
For the IDA and Margeson, the key is to make sure the venue is used to its fullest potential. First Arena will be opening again soon as hockey camps begin in a matter of weeks.
“We (need) to maximize the opportunity and the benefits,” Margeson said.
In recent years, the CCIDA has been challenging in providing information to the public regarding First Arena. Margeson has been the true exception in the role as chairman and wants what is best for the community.
More on this developing news story including the full interview with Margeson on the web for 18 Sports.