For The Tribune-Democrat
JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Tomahawks today announced the first annual Johnstown Tomahawks Charity Classic benefiting the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation–Haiti and the Johnstown Tomahawks Foundation has been cancelled due to the recent tentative agreement reached between the National Hockey League (NHL) and the NHL Players Association for a new collective bargaining agreement.
Johnstown Tomahawks President Rick Bouchard said the team was advised by the Pittsburgh Penguins’ players participating in the charity event that upcoming training camp and insurance concerns over potential player injuries contributed to the decision to cancel the game.
“While we’re excited the NHL and the NHL Players Association reached an agreement on a new labor contract, we’re obviously disappointed for our fans and supporters who helped us sell out the game for our two worthy charities,” said Bouchard. “We want our fans and ticketholders to know that we will be providing full refunds. Our fans and the Johnstown community have fully embraced our team and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
The Tomahawks Charity Classic game was scheduled to take place Wednesday at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena and feature NHL and Tomahawks players.
Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke, who was a driving force behind the creation of the charity game and helped the Tomahawks through all stages of the game’s development, said, “I would like to thank all the fans and Tomahawks organization, who immediately jumped at the chance to be involved and help a great charity.”
"We apologize we are unable to make this game a reality because of the start of the NHL season, but we will look at other opportunities to assist the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation and the Johnstown community,” added Cooke. “We look forward to seeing everyone back on the ice in Pittsburgh."
Tomahawks fans holding tickets for the Charity Classic can obtain full refunds for the event through the authorized ticket outlet from which they purchased them. These include the War Memorial Box Office, the Johnstown Tomahawks front office, and Ticketmaster. Refunds will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14. More details and policies can be found at http://pointstreaksites.com/view/johnstowntomahawks/tickets/charity-classic-refund.
In a statement, Dr. Brad Henderson, president of the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation–Haiti, also noted that while he is grateful the lockout has ended, he would also like to thank everyone for their dedication to helping the foundation.”
“On behalf of the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation I want to wholeheartedly thank the Tomahawks fans and management for their enthusiasm and willingness to support our work in Haiti. I also want to thank the Penguin players who had planned to play in the charity game as well.”
Both Bouchard and General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations Rick Boyd emphasized the Tomahawks will continue working hard towards their goal of building an exciting brand of hockey and providing the kind of creative game experiences fans have come to expect from the team.
“The cancellation of this event is very unfortunate, and our entire hockey family is disappointed that as a community we are not able to proceed with the game, which would ultimately help benefit two wonderful non-profit organizations,” said Boyd. “While the NHL players return to work, we look forward to working with them in the future to create opportunities to raise awareness and funds for such worthy causes. We would like to acknowledge and give sincere gratitude to our fans and the community for the overwhelming support they have shown for this event."