Future of Elmira youth hockey in doubt

Sports

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – One of the area’s top youth hockey programs is in doubt for the upcoming season at First Arena.

Elmira Youth Hockey, which showcases the skills in competitive hockey for hundreds of kids, could be on the outside looking in. The owners of the venue, the Chemung County Industrial Developmental Agency (IDA), do not have a current tenant in place after CAN-USA and The IDA could not work out a new deal prior to the contract expiration on July 16.

CAN-USA, owned by Robbie Nichols, still has yet to receive a meeting or any communication regarding a new contract after revitalizing First Arena and youth hockey in the region for the past three years. Earlier this month IDA director, Joe Roman, said they would keep all options on the table for a future tenant of First Arena and would be happy to meet with Nichols and CAN-USA. Nichols, who is the president of the Elmira Youth Hockey Board, is still hoping to reach a deal for players and families.

The IDA put out a media release stating updates on the future of First Arena would be disclosed.

With the hockey season typically starting practices in August, time is running out for the Elmira youth program. First Arena’s ice rinks have provided a platform for several kids and families to play the game in their own region, not having to drive hours away to other venues.

The program released an official statement via their Facebook page stating they are aware of the changes at First Arena:

Elmira Youth Hockey was a great start to NHL first-round pick Johnny Beecher’s career in the sport. Beecher, who was drafted by the Boston Bruins two years ago, is playing collegiately at The University of Michigan for the Wolverines.

As the hockey season approaches, not only are the Elmira Enforcers in jeopardy at First Arena, so is the future of the sport. Stick with 18 Sports on more as it develops.

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