ECHL hockey will be played in Johnstown for at least part of the league’s 23rd season.
Cambria County War Memorial Arena General Manager Tim Landis of SMG confirmed that an official announcement will be made today detailing plans to have the Wheeling Nailers play some of their home games in Johnstown.
“ECHL hockey will be in Johns-town next season,” Landis said Friday night. “It’s a done deal. We’re excited for the opportunity to provide the community of Johnstown with ECHL hockey. On behalf of the Cambria County Commissioners, we worked with the (Wheeling Nailers owners) Brooks brothers to create a win-win situation and keep the ECHL present in Johns-town.”
The Johnstown Chiefs will play their final ECHL game tonight at the War Memorial. The date against Elmira is sold out as the Chiefs conclude their 22-season run in the league.
Speculation that Wheeling, operated by James and Robert Brooks, was negotiating to play an unspecified number of games here had surfaced in the weeks after the Chiefs’ Feb. 14 announcement that the team would move to Greenville, S.C., next season because of declining attendance and financial difficulties.
Other leagues such as the fledgling Federal Hockey League and the International Hockey League made inquires about Johnstown, but the Wheeling situation gained momentum over the past week.
“We see this as an opportunity for us to prove to the ECHL that we can support ECHL hockey,” Landis said.