The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Chiefs

February 15, 2010

Chiefs’ pending move has region’s fans wondering: What’s next?

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown Chiefs fans repeatedly asked one question after owner Neil Smith confirmed the ECHL team will relocate to Greenville, S.C., pending approval of the league governors.

“What’s next?”

Actually, that question typically was followed by others:

“Will there be pro hockey at Cambria County War Memorial Arena next season?”

“If not, how will the arena survive without a major tenant?”

The Chiefs have played in the ECHL for 22 seasons. The team is the only original league member still playing in the same city.

Johnstown holds a special place in professional hockey, with a history dating to the 1941-42 Blue Birds season, six league playoff championships earned by the Johnstown Jets and, of course, filming of the movie “Slap Shot” here in 1976.

Good or bad on the ice, the Chiefs were known throughout the hockey world because of their famous name and venerable arena.

Now, barring a miracle, they’re off to Greenville, a city with a shiny, spacious arena. The Bi-Lo Center once housed a championship ECHL team that eventually folded under financial burdens in 2006.

Philadelphia native Andy Richards has a few questions of his own. The vice commissioner of the fledgling Federal Hockey League spent part of Monday morning trying to contact the proper people in Johnstown and Cambria County. He wondered if Johnstown would be a fit for what the FHL hopes blossoms into a six-team low Class A level minor league.

“We’ve been following the situation with the Chiefs,” Richards said. “We didn’t anticipate they’d be leaving this soon. We thought they would last a few more years, but economics are economics. When we saw the thing with Greenville, we wanted to set up a meeting with the appropriate people in town and see if we can get involved with the community there. We are interested in getting that meeting set up and see what would be required and if it would fit our model.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Chiefs
  • Edwards honored by ECHL

    December 5, 2013

  • Slapshot Cup expands to 18 teams in second year

    The Slapshot Cup Hockey Tournament has expanded for its second year in Johnstown.

    September 28, 2011

  • ZIGGYS.jpg Former players rally to help ‘Ziggy'

    Randy Rowe felt it was so important to wear the specially designed Ziggy’s Fundraiser sweater that he juggled his schedule and planned a 91⁄2-hour drive from Belleville, Ontario, to Richland Township.

    June 3, 2010 1 Photo

  • chiefs_main.jpg Johnstown sufferes an epic loss

    The final seconds ticked down in the Johnstown Chiefs’ ECHL existence on Saturday night, and even though the hometown team trailed by four goals, a standing-room-only crowd began chanting, “Let’s go Chiefs.”
    That chant would be nothing out of the ordinary on most nights. But this game was the last game.
    Twenty-two ECHL seasons and thousands of memories came to a conclusion when the Chiefs dropped a 5-3 contest to Elmira at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

    April 4, 2010 6 Photos

  • chiefs_sorry.JPG Mike Mastovich: ‘A sad night for Johnstown’

    Scott Allen stood on the New York Islanders bench during Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
    Long Island and the NHL is about as far from Johnstown and the ECHL as one gets on a sunny afternoon.

    April 4, 2010 2 Photos

  • chiefs_banner.JPG Joe Gorden: City teams usually on thin ice

    A sellout crowd turned out on Saturday to say goodbye to the ECHL’s
    Johnstown Chiefs in their last game at Cambria County War Memorial Arena. The irony was obvious.

    April 4, 2010 1 Photo

  • Nailers to play 11 games in Johnstown next year

    The thought of loyal Johnstown Chiefs fans rooting for the Wheeling Nailers might have been difficult to grasp a few months ago.
    But next season, Johnstown’s hockey fans have no other choice.

    April 3, 2010

  • CHIEFS_celebration.jpg Mike Mastovich: 10 Defining moments in Chiefs history

    So, this is it.
    Twenty-two ECHL seasons and 1,518 regular-season games.
    It ends tonight at a sold-out Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

    April 3, 2010 3 Photos

  • Chiefs drop final road game

    The Johnstown Chiefs dropped the final road game in team history on Friday night, falling behind early and failing to catch up to the Cincinnati Cyclones in a 5-1 loss in front of more than 10,000 fans at U.S. Bank Arena.

    April 2, 2010

  • Arena confirms: Wheeling Nailers to play some games in Johnstown next year

    April 2, 2010

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads