The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 24, 2012

Alaska hockey team relocating to Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN — Hockey is headed back to Johnstown.

The North American Hockey League has approved the sale of the Alaska Avalanche to the recently formed Johnstown Sports Partnership. The group needs to complete a few more minor steps in the process and will relocate to the city for next season, when the Tier II Junior A team will play at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

“It’s big for the area,” said Rick Boyd of Richland, a former Johnstown Chief who has been working to bring junior hockey to the region since the Chiefs left town in 2010.

Boyd said he will serve as general manager and director of hockey operations for the franchise.

Jim Bouchard of suburban Pittsburgh is the team’s new principal owner while Mark Lee, who previously held that post, will retain a minority ownership. Boyd said that a number of local investors also are involved in the Johnstown Sports Partnership.

The Mat-Su Valley (Alaska) Frontiersman first reported the story.

The 28-team NAHL features players primarily in the 18- to 20-year-old age group. Dozens of league alums are currently playing in the NHL, including stars such as Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins.

Boyd, whose son currently plays for the NAHL’s Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats, stressed that junior hockey is different than high school hockey.

“It’s awesome hockey,” he said. “I went out and watched three games in January and know that we can sell it to educated hockey fans.”

Wednesday's print and online editions of The Tribune-Democrat will have more on this story.


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