ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – It’s a new era at First Arena on the ice.

This week, for the first time ever, the Elmira River Sharks will play in the Federal Prospects Hockey League (FPHL). The season-opening game will be this Saturday at Binghamton when the Sharks travel to play the Black Bears at 7 pm. Saturday’s game marks the first in the league for an Elmira team since the Mammoth was discontinued after last season.

The following weekend Elmira plays at Watertown on Friday, October 20 and then its the franchise’s home opener on Saturday, October 21 against the same Wolves. Elmira is coached by one of the league’s all-time best scoring machines in Ty Gjurich.

Plenty of other familiar talent will hit the ice this season as well. Solid players like Cam Yarwood, Luke Richards and Stavros Soilis return to First Arena after stints with the Mammoth.

Wednesday, it was media day at First Arena with the entire team and coach Gjurich addressing the new energy and emotion on hockey in Elmira.

“It’s exciting, coach obviously has a lot of experience and has been helping out a lot of the guys,” forward Stavros Soilis said. Soilis had 13 goals and 22 assists in 45 games last year for the Mammoth, he believes this group is coming together well.

“The boys have been putting a lot of work into it to make it a special season.”

Richards also put up plenty of points last year for the Mammoth. In just 20 games, Richards notched 13 goals and 10 assists a season ago.

“We’ve been building a culture here since last week,” Richards said. “I feel like we’ve been spending a lot of time together which always helps, the closer you are in the locker room the better the product on the ice.”

For Gjurich, who played for the Elmira Jackals in 2016 as well as the Elmira Enforcers from 2019-21, this marks his first year as a head coach but he feels that the environment is only getting better.

“I’m very excited to get this opportunity, it’s my first year coaching,” Gjurich said. “So far, it’s been great. The week or so we’ve been here I’ve got a great group of guys…we’re excited to get this going.”

For a complete schedule for the 2023-24 River Sharks season, view here courtesy of the FPHL website: https://www.elmirariversharks.com/stats#/team-schedule?team_id=281967