ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 SPORTS) - The future of pro hockey in Elmira is quickly facing its deadline.
Tomorrow by 4 pm, Pioneers baseball owner Robbie Nichols, has his final offer in place for approval to bring a Federal Hockey League (FHL) franchise to Elmira. Nichols has been in negotiations with the owners of First Arena, the Chemung County IDA, for the past few weeks. After an unsuccessful attempt last June, Nichols, who owns the rights to bring an FHL team to the city, is trying to bring the game back.
On Saturday, 18 Sports spoke with Chemung County Executive candidate, Mike Krusen, on the potential of bringing hockey back after the Elmira Jackals folded from the ECHL in April 2017. Krusen said that the IDA has no bearings to be in the arena business. He hopes to work out the best deal possible to bring hockey back to the city.
The main issue on why no deal has worked, the incurred costs associated with First Arena and lack of routine maintenance by the IDA. Nichols does not want to have to personally cover the past expenses the First Arena has racked up such as fixing the overall ice plant, roof issues, broken hockey boards, and boiler problems.
Krusen also told 18 Sports that the IDA is hoping to get a state grant in order to help offset and cover those costs. That grant, which is a targeted $3 million dollars, would be a critical part of returning First Arena to normal operations and having the game back on the ice.
Stick with 18 Sports on the developing story.