Johnstown’s new North American Hockey League team couldn’t use the iconic Chiefs name that has become so symbolic of the city, so it did the next best thing.
Johnstown Sports Partners LLC announced today that the team will be called the Johnstown Tomahawks and will be coached by former Chief Jason Spence. The team has scheduled a press conference for 10:30 this morning at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.
The nickname was chosen to symbolize the new team's fighting spirit, exciting style of play and good sportsmanship the team and its fans expect from their young players, according to a press release.
The team will debut its new look and uniforms when it begins its first NAHL season in October at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, site of filming for the classic 1977 hockey movie, "Slap Shot," which followed the exploits of the fictional Charlestown Chiefs.
The Tomahawks' color scheme of red, white and blue was created as a tribute to the American war veterans honored and commemorated throughout the War Memorial Arena for their sacrifices and service to our country, the press release says.
James Bouchard, majority owner of the Tomahawks, said the team name and logo was chosen after considerable thought and after receiving a large and vocal response from hockey fans across the region and the country.
"The Johnstown hockey nation has been abuzz since May 11th, when we announced the acquisition and relocation of the Alaska Avalanche to Johnstown, and they contributed great ideas for the team name and logo,” Bouchard said in a release. “And, interest and inquiries from potential player candidates, scouts, sponsors and local businesses looking to join with us has been terrific. That's a testament to the local community and region's love for hockey, and we believe the choice of our team name and logo reflects that intense loyalty and enthusiasm."
Many fans wanted the
Spence, is a former Johnstown Chiefs player, team captain, assistant coach and current assistant coach of the ECHL's Greenville Road Warriors. He served as the Chiefs' assistant coach from 2009 to 2010, is widely recognized for his player development skills and extensive scouting and recruiting experience, according to the press release.
Former Chief Rick Boyd, who helped broker the deal to bring the team to Johnstown and now serves as the team’s general manager, said Spence is a perfect fit for the Tomahawks.
"Jason was the hardest-working player on the ice and a wonderful team ambassador off the ice. The fans loved him and he connected with this community so well that he relocated to Johnstown, married a local woman and made huge sacrifices to pursue his love of coaching and mentoring young players," Boyd said. "I know our young men will be thrilled to have Jason as their coach."
NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld congratulated the new team and head coach selection and said.
"Today is an exciting step for the Johnstown organization as they establish a new identity and continue to introduce the North American Hockey League to new fans,” Frankenfeld said in a release. “With a strong and committed ownership group, an established group of veteran players and an experienced and knowledgeable head coach, they have all the tools in place to be a success, both on and off the ice in their inaugural season."
The team has established a temporary website at www.johnstowntomahawks.com that includes information on the team; social media access platforms and videos; and upcoming events, front-office contacts and links to other NAHL franchises. The team will also be featured on the NAHL's website at www.nahl.com.