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kwey24

Elmira Jackals

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kwey24

The Elmira Jackals have withdrawn their membership from the ECHL effective the end of this season.

 

http://www.echl.com/elmira-withdraws-membership-echl

 

It'll be interesting to see what happens with hockey in Elmira. Does it go to junior hockey, does it go to the Federal Hockey League, or does it perhaps go to the Southern Professional Hockey League.

 

What happens with Elmira will be crucial. Whatever Elmira ends up with, I suspect Johnstown will eventually end up with, too (it's sounding like the Tomahawks will eventually be SOL because they could end up on an island). Personally, it'd be my hope that Elmira would end up in the FHL because it's arena size is right and the geography is right, too, with Danbury, Watertown, Berlin, and Cornwall. Again, long-term, I just have my doubts that Elmira and Johnstown could support SPHL teams.

 

Anyway, it finally happened.

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minor life

The arena fits for the FHL to gain another big building, but it also fits with the NAHL desire to expand east. I don't see either working in that market. Neither will meet the demands of educated fans. But another millionaire has his hands on an arena and its always tempting to redesign the wheel.

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Johnstown

The ownership of the Johnstown Tomahawks signed a long term lease extension with the arena a few months ago. They aren't going anywhere. A NAHL team can be successful in Elmira, but only if the team is marketed heavily like Johnstown does. We have had hockey in Johnstown since 1950 and I think we are quite educated in the sport. The NAHL team is very popular here.

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minor life

The ownership of the Johnstown Tomahawks signed a long term lease extension with the arena a few months ago. They aren't going anywhere. A NAHL team can be successful in Elmira, but only if the team is marketed heavily like Johnstown does. We have had hockey in Johnstown since 1950 and I think we are quite educated in the sport. The NAHL team is very popular here.

 

As successful as the Titans, Generals, and Knights? Elmira is not Johnstown, they are two dramatically different demographics. Johnstown is older, and has less money. Elmira arena now owned privately, and has to make money because they just lost the tax subsidies. This is a classic NAHL statement in just assuming things will work. Like they worked in Rio Grande because things worked in Corpus. Like things would work in Boston because its such a great hockey city.

 

Johnstown is certainly working though from a fan perspective. You might want to ask the owners if they are making money or are deliberately set up to lose money each year for other purposes. That is pretty important to understand if you think the same can be done in Elmira.

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Johnstown

 

The ownership of the Johnstown Tomahawks signed a long term lease extension with the arena a few months ago. They aren't going anywhere. A NAHL team can be successful in Elmira, but only if the team is marketed heavily like Johnstown does. We have had hockey in Johnstown since 1950 and I think we are quite educated in the sport. The NAHL team is very popular here.

 

As successful as the Titans, Generals, and Knights? Elmira is not Johnstown, they are two dramatically different demographics. Johnstown is older, and has less money. Elmira arena now owned privately, and has to make money because they just lost the tax subsidies. This is a classic NAHL statement in just assuming things will work. Like they worked in Rio Grande because things worked in Corpus. Like things would work in Boston because its such a great hockey city.

 

Johnstown is certainly working though from a fan perspective. You might want to ask the owners if they are making money or are deliberately set up to lose money each year for other purposes. That is pretty important to understand if you think the same can be done in Elmira.

 

I never said the Titans, Generals and Knights were successful. When your entire marketing plan is a Facebook page, you are destined to fail. Are the Tomahawks showing a loss on their books? Probably, but most hockey teams at ALL levels are operating at a loss. My point is, Elmira seems to only have two hockey options right now. The NAHL or the FHL. Unless the FHL becomes the US version of the LNAH, I believe it will be a massive failure in Elmira. I think they would have a better chance of being somewhat successful in the NAHL. At least the fans would get to watch legitimate prospects.

 

What other options does Elmira have? Would the USPHL be an option?

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Mr Ricochet

Elmira switches leagues pretty regularly it seems. Maybe the same as most but to me it seems it's a regular thing.......Sucks they are dropping out of a great league in the ECHL. Why are they doing so, attendance problems?

 

ML, not a fan of the play of the FHL?

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Mr Ricochet

 

 

The ownership of the Johnstown Tomahawks signed a long term lease extension with the arena a few months ago. They aren't going anywhere. A NAHL team can be successful in Elmira, but only if the team is marketed heavily like Johnstown does. We have had hockey in Johnstown since 1950 and I think we are quite educated in the sport. The NAHL team is very popular here.

 

As successful as the Titans, Generals, and Knights? Elmira is not Johnstown, they are two dramatically different demographics. Johnstown is older, and has less money. Elmira arena now owned privately, and has to make money because they just lost the tax subsidies. This is a classic NAHL statement in just assuming things will work. Like they worked in Rio Grande because things worked in Corpus. Like things would work in Boston because its such a great hockey city.

 

Johnstown is certainly working though from a fan perspective. You might want to ask the owners if they are making money or are deliberately set up to lose money each year for other purposes. That is pretty important to understand if you think the same can be done in Elmira.

 

I never said the Titans, Generals and Knights were successful. When your entire marketing plan is a Facebook page, you are destined to fail. Are the Tomahawks showing a loss on their books? Probably, but most hockey teams at ALL levels are operating at a loss. My point is, Elmira seems to only have two hockey options right now. The NAHL or the FHL. Unless the FHL becomes the US version of the LNAH, I believe it will be a massive failure in Elmira. I think they would have a better chance of being somewhat successful in the NAHL. At least the fans would get to watch legitimate prospects.

 

What other options does Elmira have? Would the USPHL be an option?

 

 

 

It fits geographically, no?

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minor life

Elmira fits with the FHL and NAHL. The problem with the FHL is that it simply isnt marketable. What are we selling in the FHL? Entertainment? Its not that entertaining. Development? Developing players for the SPHL and occassional ECHL call up isnt really development. This is an educated hockey consumer, and even after all the crap the ECHL has put the market through with this debacle for the last few decades, they are still an educated consumer.

 

The problem with the educated consumer, is that they wont purchase a Volkswagen if they really want a Porsche. The NAHL is not going to do anything for this consumer base.

 

If they want their hockey fix, they have a D-3 team right in town that draws pretty well. What hockey competition for ticket sales does Johnstown have? None. Try selling tickets on the "student athlete" development model in a town that already has "student athletes" developing.

 

Along with the announcement of the ECHL being gone, you can bet that those sponsors are already being sold by other groups. Who ever goes in there now, will already be behind in the corporate game. This has financial disaster written all over it. All the NAHL has to do is look back at the Jamestown Ironmen. Right down the street from SUNY Fredonia. The Ironmen got killed financially, and got killed off. This, if my guess is right, will be the same case for the NAHL in Elmira. 3500 seats is a lot of empty seats for any league.

 

USPHL - NCDC is designed for arena owners, and it would fit that model, but when I met with the owners on Wednesday, it was not mentioned, and they are coming to our event with 11 teams. I would have heard something if there was anything happening there.

Edited by minor life

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kwey24

In my opinion, the NAHL's desire to expand East is ill-advised (I've also always believed this with the USHL, and the USHL has wisely declined to do so). I will be the first to say that the Tomahawks are a very respectable NAHL team, but I just don't think there are enough markets out East to support the NAHL. If Johnstown lost its NAHL team (after the other teams in the region fold) and picked up an FHL team on par with Danville, Danbury, Port Huron, or Watertown, or the direction Carolina seems to be going, I think the market would respond favorably to FHL hockey and there'd be a number of regional rivals.

 

If you like NAHL hockey, I think you'll like FHL hockey. The NAHL doesn't feature a lot of high-end talent. It's grinding (but not goon) hockey. Well, that's largely what the FHL is, too. You have an odd player here or there that tears up the league with skill that is strong for the FHL level (but rarely enough to be a top-six in the SPHL), but the rest of it is grinding, blue-collar hockey. I think fans in these old, smaller cities can identify well with FHL players.

 

Gaining markets like Elmira and Johnstown would be huge for the FHL as it tries to add teams on pair with Danville, Danbury, Port Huron, Watertown, and Carolina. Berlin, despite its tiny rink, has a lot of enthusiasm. Cornwall has potential as a market. St. Clair Shores...not looking as good (although, it's actually gone better than I thought it would). If every team coming through Elmira and Johnstown is on par with Danville, Danbury, Port Huron, and Watertown (and what I think Cornwall can become), I think fans will take to it. The SPHL is approaching what the Central League used to be (if it's not already there). The FHL is now starting to approach what the SPHL used to be in terms of talent (in my opinion). We're a long way removed from the gong show Single A leagues. The SPHL is extremely legit and the FHL is legit now, too. If you really love hockey, you'll like FHL hockey. It's more exciting than AHL hockey (which is routinely boring--it's quite positional but doesn't have the high-end skill of the NHL). I still love AHL hockey, too.

 

To me, a real hockey connoisseur can find enjoyment in any level.

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minor life

I agree with the assesment of where the SPHL and FHL are talent wise. The SP is very good now, every bit as good as the CHL was. The FHL, its just run so poorly still that I cant get behind it. Every league has its place, and for some towns a team is a team is a team. That doesnt mean its a good business decision though.

 

There is one very simple common denominator to every successful team at the junior and minor pro level. The are the biggest and usually only show in town. When teams fail, the first reason is usually because they can not dominate the market. This is why the NAHL out east is failing in every way possible in every market except Johnstown.

 

The idea that fans will gravitate toward the old school style of game is an idea that is dying. There are not the volume of old school fans there once was. Hockey fan demographics are trending younger. Younger fans gravitate to the faster skilled game. St. Claire Shores in the FHL is an example of this failure among others. Who in their right mind puts a team in that arena, with those players, right down the street from an NHL team, in a town where many of those NHL players live and thinks its going to make money? A GMHL owner does. And that alone should give everyone reason to question anything the FHL does.

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Mr Ricochet

In my opinion, the NAHL's desire to expand East is ill-advised (I've also always believed this with the USHL, and the USHL has wisely declined to do so). I will be the first to say that the Tomahawks are a very respectable NAHL team, but I just don't think there are enough markets out East to support the NAHL. If Johnstown lost its NAHL team (after the other teams in the region fold) and picked up an FHL team on par with Danville, Danbury, Port Huron, or Watertown, or the direction Carolina seems to be going, I think the market would respond favorably to FHL hockey and there'd be a number of regional rivals.

 

If you like NAHL hockey, I think you'll like FHL hockey. The NAHL doesn't feature a lot of high-end talent. It's grinding (but not goon) hockey. Well, that's largely what the FHL is, too. You have an odd player here or there that tears up the league with skill that is strong for the FHL level (but rarely enough to be a top-six in the SPHL), but the rest of it is grinding, blue-collar hockey. I think fans in these old, smaller cities can identify well with FHL players.

 

Gaining markets like Elmira and Johnstown would be huge for the FHL as it tries to add teams on pair with Danville, Danbury, Port Huron, Watertown, and Carolina. Berlin, despite its tiny rink, has a lot of enthusiasm. Cornwall has potential as a market. St. Clair Shores...not looking as good (although, it's actually gone better than I thought it would). If every team coming through Elmira and Johnstown is on par with Danville, Danbury, Port Huron, and Watertown (and what I think Cornwall can become), I think fans will take to it. The SPHL is approaching what the Central League used to be (if it's not already there). The FHL is now starting to approach what the SPHL used to be in terms of talent (in my opinion). We're a long way removed from the gong show Single A leagues. The SPHL is extremely legit and the FHL is legit now, too. If you really love hockey, you'll like FHL hockey. It's more exciting than AHL hockey (which is routinely boring--it's quite positional but doesn't have the high-end skill of the NHL). I still love AHL hockey, too.

 

To me, a real hockey connoisseur can find enjoyment in any level.

 

 

Count me as one who just can't get excited about the AHL, other than the goaltending. I find AA pro much more spirited and entertaining.

 

Very interesting, and good to read, both you and ML find A pro approaching CHL (AA pro) level of talent. If that's the case, and why wouldn't it be really with the CHL gone and the IHL2 too a few years ago, this level has a real chance and the FHL in particular.

 

But as with any level you need the right fits in the right cities. I do think low pro can still attract fans even though they have a junior or lower level college option. I do think people still like the fighting as long as it's mixed with skill as opposed to ankle benders beating on each other. And if A pro is approaching or at the defunct CHL in skill and they fight as well you have a very entertaining brand that can work with proper management.

 

The Colonial Hockey League was fantastic hockey and they brawled as well.

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minor life

Being told Elmira to purchase their own ECHL franchise. FHL was never an option and NAHL was only a fallback option.

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Johnstown

Being told Elmira to purchase their own ECHL franchise. FHL was never an option and NAHL was only a fallback option.

How many times must the ECHL fail in that city. Sounds like the definition of insanity to me.

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