ELMIRA, NY – Today, Chemung County officials announced that this season will be the last for the Elmira Jackals. The team will be closing up shop at the end of the season.
Back in early February, ownership issues came up, as the City of Elmira announced they wouldn’t be giving funds to the First Arena to contribute toward the replacement of the arena’s ice plant and $700,000 in outstanding payables due by the Elmira Jackals at the end of the season.
The announcement from the city came at a time when the IDA was trying to transfer ownership of the First Arena and team to a new owner. One of the conditions of the sale was that the county would replace the ice plant. When the IDA first took over the arena in June of 2016, their plan was to transfer ownership over to a private ownership sooner rather than later.
After the city bulked on the $1.5M, WETM in Elmira reported the county reached out with a counter offer to the city on Friday, with the offer being $750,000 to replace the arena’s ice plant but the city again refused.
Even if Elmira doesn’t have ECHL hockey, there is still a chance for someone to bring in a hockey team within a smaller league, which could work for Elmira. The Jackals thrived as a franchise in the United Hockey League days. One of the best aspects of playing in the league was that the players were more likely to stay with the team throughout the whole season, making it possible for the fans to become more connected with the players as the season progressed.
Another reason why it could happen is that the First Arena is still booking events. The arena was purchased by Brian Barrett and they have the Professional Bull Riding tour coming in May and have scheduled another big event for June.
The Jackals have thirteen games remaining (ten home, three away) between now and their last game on April 8th at First Arena against the Adirondack Thunder.