I'll bet some of you know this; but, for those who don't and might care, things with Brian Barrett have fallen apart in Elmira and former Jackals GM Robbie Nichols already owns an FHL franchise and is merely looking to close a deal with the IDA on putting a team in First Arena and possibly even purchasing the arena (which the IDA is trying to do).
This would be huge for the FHL and a big win. Hopefully everyone knows that ECHL hockey is no longer viable in Elmira (despite strong efforts) and I'm heartened that Elmira is not going to end up with an NAHL team that I believe would be in a doomed division. Johnstown is in a doomed division. I hope that this Elmira deal goes through and that someday somewhat soon, Johnstown becomes an FHL market (which it always should have been). Johnstown does a great job supporting its NAHL team. The problem is there aren't enough other viable markets in the area. The FHL only has a certain number of viable markets, too; but the FHL has the advantage it that it already possesses many of the viable markets. Secondarily, the NCDC is going to win the battle for Tier II hockey in the Northeast.
If the FHL can continue to gain ground and be a league with teams playing only in legitimate arenas and in legitimate markets, this has the potential to create arena growth in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. No longer would you have the pressure to build an 8,000 seat arena; but, instead, you can build an arena for your community for specific to hockey, indoor football, and such, that seats 3,000 or 4,000. A lot of markets open up as possibilities if all they really need is an arena that seats 3,000 to 4,000, and maybe even as low as 2,500 or even what Jamestown, New York, has. Watertown plays with what it has; but, if you were building a new arena, you wouldn't build it that small for an FHL team. For most markets, 3,000 would work just fine and be more than enough on most nights. Just duplicate what Waterloo or Dubuque have in the USHL and you're probably good to go. How many markets are out there with arenas far larger than they need, too, that serve as cautionary tales?