The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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January 4, 2013

O-Pen skate: Locked-out NHLers, Tomahawks to play charity game in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN — Some of the team’s players initially thought they were the target of a hockey prank when plans for the Johnstown Tomahawks Charity Classic were unveiled.

After all, who would believe that a group of Pittsburgh Penguins players would skate alongside the NAHL Tier II Junior A Tomahawks at Cambria County War Memorial Arena?

“We thought for a little while that it might be a joke,” said Chris Truehl, a 19-year-old Tomahawks goaltender from Stoughton, Wis. “(Tomahawks front office staff) told us they had a surprise for us and we’d have a great opportunity. When they told us we’d play with the Penguins, it was an awesome opportunity. It was a really cool feeling for all of us.”

The National Hockey League’s labor strife inadvertently will provide Johnstown hockey fans an opportunity to watch some of the game’s top players at the War Memorial Arena.

Locked-out members of the Pittsburgh Penguins will join the Tomahawks at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The NHL players – including popular Penguins Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz, who each recently were part of a Tomahawks promotion at the War Memorial – will play side by side with Tomahawks players in a game to raise money for Pittsburgh Kids Foundation-Haiti and the Johnstown Tomahawks Charity Foundation.

Tickets, which cost $25 for all seats, will go on sale at 10 a.m. today at the War Memorial. Tickets also may be purchased through TicketMaster at 1-800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.

In addition to Cooke and Kunitz, the Penguins players scheduled to participate in the event are goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury; forwards Pascal Dupuis, Craig Adams and Joe Vitale; and defensemen Brooks Orpik, Deryk Engelland and Ben Lovejoy.

Former Penguin forward Jordan Staal also is to play in the game.

As of Thursday evening, there was no word on whether Penguins star center Sidney Crosby would participate either as a player or a special guest.

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