Elmira Enforcers Revealed as Team Name
Elmira, NY - At a press conference on Thursday at First Arena, the expansion Elmira franchise was revealed as the Elmira Enforcers. The Enforcers join the FHL to continue 17 years of professional hockey in Elmira started by the Jackals, who were members of both the UHL and ECHL during their tenure.
In addition to unveiling the team name and logo, the Enforcers also announced Brent Clarke as Head Coach, veteran goaltender Nick Niedert as the first player signing, and team staff.
Brent Clarke, 31, is a native of Bolton, Ontario. He has had a successful playing career in over 400 pro hockey games, including the ECHL, CHL, IHL, SPHL, and FHL. When asked about how he felt about coming to Elmira, Brent said: “The last time I coached in New York State I won a championship with the Watertown Wolves, so I am excited about coming back. I have played a couple of games against Elmira when I was in the ECHL. The arena is beautiful and I am excited to get going.” Clarke was extremely grateful to team ownership as well. "I want to say thank you to Robbie Nichols for choosing me. [Robbie] has been around every league possible and to have good people around you going into the season can make the difference.”
Clarke takes on his third head coaching job, with all of them coming at the FHL level. In his first season as a head coach, Clarke led the Watertown Wolves to win the FHL Championship in their inaugural season in 2015. After that successful run, Brent returned to play for the Danville Dashers as a player/assistant coach in 2015-16, before bouncing between the FHL and SPHL in 2016-17. Clarke spent all of last year at the helm of the Danville Dashers. The Dashers won 9 of their first 12 contests, and scored 5 or more goals in 10 of those games. Despite not finding the same success of his first campaign behind the bench, Clarke did lead the Dashers to their fourth straight playoff appearance.
Enforcers Owner Robbie Nichols said: “We are very pleased Brent Clarke was available. Brent brings a wealth of knowledge about the Federal Hockey League to Elmira. He has won a championship at this level and I look forward to working with him.”
Nick Niedert, 36, is a native of Hudson, Iowa. Niedert’s 14 years in the game span 32 different teams ranging from the EPHL to the AHL over the course of his career. In addition to his veteran presence in the locker room, Niedert offers a familiarity with First Arena, and Elmira itself, having played two stints with the Jackals previously. During his career, Nick has managed to capture the FHL Championship with the Watertown Wolves in 2014-15.
When asked about what made him decide to return after a season filled with rumors of his retirement, Niedert said: “Robbie (Nichols) made the decision for me to come back easy. When I knew he was going to be the owner after everything he has done for me, I told him that if there was anything I could do to let me know and I’d do it. The City of Elmira is awesome. I’ve had great experiences with the city and at that arena. I won my first ECHL game there with the Jackals, and as of right now, my last ECHL game against the club.”
In the last two seasons in which he played in more than 10 games for one team, he averaged a 3.22 goals against average with a .891 save percentage. During his stints in Elmira, Nick had a collective 2.63 goals against with a .909 save percentage, while going 3-1-0. Aside from his role as a veteran presence in the locker room, Niedert has drawn comparisons by team management to Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury due to his nature of putting community first in places he has played. In the past, Niedert has raised funds for NY Rangers Assist to help out youth hockey and creating an all-girls hockey team.
Enforcers Owner Robbie Nichols said: “Nick Niedert is a goalie I called up to Elmira a few years ago. With Nick you know you are going to get 100% every night and he is a great guy in the community. We look forward to Nick leading both on and off the ice.”
Joining Owner Robbie Nichols and General Manager Marc Witt as members of CAN-USA Sports, the parent company of the new franchise are the following: Alex Jones (Director of Community Relations), Austin Simon (Director of Ticket Sales), Kane Cowper (Operations Manager), Jonathan Kliment (Director of Media Relations), and Troy Costantino (Account Executive). A full bio of the staff can be viewed here.
The Enforcers will kick off their inaugural season on the road in Danville on October 26th. Their Home Opener is on November 16th against Carolina, after renovations at First Arena are completed.
Season ticket packages for Elmira's first season of FHL hockey are available now by contacting First Arena directly at (607) 734-7825.