FHL Announces Elmira as 5th Team 18-19

7/18/18 – For Immediate Release


Winston-Salem N.C.- The Federal Hockey League has unveiled a new expansion team ahead of the 2018-19 season located in Elmira, New York.

Among those in attendance at First Arena, where the new Elmira team will play their home games, were FHL commissioner Don Kirnan, Team President Robbie Nichols and Chemung County IDA Executive Candidate, Mike Krusen.

During the press conference Nichols unveiled the team’s new General Manager as Marc Witt. Witt has previous experience in Elmira, working as an account executive for the previously ceased Elmira Jackals hockey team back in 2010-11. Witt has gone on to work at the NHL level with the Columbus Blue Jackets front office and is moving from his most recent job as Vice President of Sales for the Binghamton Devils AHL franchise. Witt also worked in Binghamton while the team was affiliated with the Ottawa Senators.

The team name, colors, head coach, and first player signings will be announced at a different press conference on July 25th.

IDA Executive Candidate Krusen noted that major repairs would have to be made to the arena in time for the FHL season which starts in late October. “There’s a fair amount of capital improvement that needs to acquire (sic) to this building… We will look to apply for a grant, worth three million dollars.” Krusen said at the press conference.

To allow for the repairs to be completed in time, Elmira’s first home game will be on November 16th as reported by local media.

Elmira, New York was the previous home of the Elmira Jackals for 18 years with stints in both the UHL (2000-2007) and the ECHL (2007-2017). The Jackals ceased operations after First Arena was sold to a local businessman. Nichols’ lease agreement for the arena has a provision to allow him to buy it in the future.

Thunderbirds President Scott Brand - “Robbie will do a tremendous job in Elmira, we welcome a new member to the league and someone else the Thunderbirds can beat up on.  Even though we are 100 days out from opening weekend, this opportunity and the upcoming announcement about a 6th team have been in the works for over a year. The addition of Elmira plus the 6th team announcement later this week and the opportunities for the 2019-20 season will stabilize the league.”

The Thunderbirds are expected to release their 58-game regular season schedule shortly which will feature Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Eve Games.

Elmira becomes the fifth team in line to play in the FHL’s ninth season in 2018-19. They join fellow New York team the Watertown Wolves, along with the Danville Dashers, the Port Huron Prowlers and the Carolina Thunderbirds.


The Carolina Thunderbirds are proud members of the Federal Hockey League, now in its ninth season. Carolina will be starting its second season of play looking to build on the success of its inaugural season where the Thunderbirds posted an 87-point season with a record of 25-5-2-24 (W-OTW-OTL-L). The Thunderbirds also set an FHL record with over 65,000 fans through the doors in their first season. Season tickets are on sale now by calling 336-774-GOAL (4625).