Yes, the AAHL was terrible. It was so terrible that it was the catalyst that brought Evansville Indiana a pretty nice arena. It was so terrible that Bloomington became a hockey market and has the USHL today. It certainly is to blame for the Rink in Battle Creek for remaining open when city officials were looking to close its doors.
Lets not forget blaming the league for giving players an opportunity. Or forget to blame the league for having more "call ups" in year one than the SPHL had in its first five years combined. Lets not forget how many OHL, D-1, D-3 and CIS players wound down their careers in the league too. Or the players who are still playing in the FHL or Europe. A terrible league to be sure.
The FHL has done a great job at surviving. They should get a lot of credit. Barry Soskin in particular should get a lot of credit for taking such financial risk. Its players deserve credit too. They have gone through the ups and downs and are being rewarded for it as the league improves.
Moving back to topic though; the FHL in Elmira would be short lived as long as the local municipality is involved in the arena in any way. Local government has screwed things up almost as much as the Afr's did. This is a city who's police department made completely unfounded claims against the guy who was going to buy the arena and bring back an ECHL team right before the sale was going to close. Maybe a year with nothing will make some people more appreciative of what they had and will help bring change.