ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The Elmira Enforcers are on a quest to make history.
Elmira is set to play in the Ignite Cup Championship series starting Friday night at First Arena when Columbus comes to town. The opening puck will drop at 7:05 pm followed by game two at First Arena at the same exact time Saturday night. If the Enforcers can win the best-of-five series, it will mark the first professional hockey championship in city history.
In 2002 and 2004 the Elmira Jackals franchise, which ceased operation in 2017, finished as runner-up in the now defunct UHL Finals. The Enforcers hope to surge to an early lead in the series as Columbus has earned home-ice advantage and will be home for the final three games (if necessary) in Georgia.
This year has certainly seen several challenges for the Enforcers amid the virus. A limited capacity of fans can attend First Arena for Friday and Saturday’s games (10 percent by state guidelines). But nonetheless, Elmira’s primed to make history for their loyal fans who’ve stuck by them through it all.
Last season, Elmira was in first place in their division in the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL) before the plug was pulled on the rest of the year due to COVID-19. Two seasons prior, in the Enforcers’ first year as a franchise, Elmira made the Commissioner’s Cup Finals but dropped a tough series (3-1) to a very talented Carolina team. The third time might indeed be the charm.
Coach and captain, Ahmed Mahfouz, tells 18 Sports the significance of what winning a title would do for the entire city. Mahfouz, the league’s all-time scoring leader, has won three league championships with other franchise’s during his 11-year career. He knows the impact it can make and how they can get it done.
This year’s championship series was decided based on the regular season standings. Only four total teams were allowed to play in this year’s season with several teams cancelling their respective years due to the virus. Columbus, who finished first in the standings, is the lone team in Elmira’s way as they battle to bring home a title. A full slate of the upcoming schedule is below, stay with 18 Sports for more coverage as the Ignite Cup Championship Series begins.