The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

January 4, 2013

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



Tomahawks look forward to sharing ice with NHL players

Tomahawks President Richard Bouchard said the game is set to go on even if the NHL lockout issues would be resolved in the next few days. The NHL and NHLPA negotiations have resumed this week.

“Obviously there is a disclaimer. We’re so close. Anything could happen,” Bouchard said. “But as of now if the lockout ends and the training camp begins on (Jan.) 12 or 13, the game is still on unless the Penguins would order the players not to play. Anything can happen, but as of now the game is on.”

The community oriented Tomahawks team has quickly won over Johnstown and its hockey fans through spirited play on the ice and a willingness to interact with people and organizations throughout the region.

“The younger players, boys and girls, will get a chance to see NHL players up close,” Bouchard said of the team’s fans involved in youth hockey. “This will be another benefit. It also gives our Tomahawks players an opportunity to see what it’s like to be a professional player at the game’s highest level for a night.”

Tomahawks majority owner James Bouchard and his company, Esmark, have strong ties to the Penguins, and James Bouchard is a friend of Mario Lemieux, the Hall of Famer who won two Stanley Cups with the Pens before becoming an owner of the team.

“My brother, Jim, has made several trips to Haiti and is very involved in the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, and that’s how this all came to fruition,” Richard Bouchard said. “He made several trips to donate medical supplies over the last few years. Haiti is officially the poorest country in the world. Pittsburgh Kids Foundation has made several trips.

“Dr. Brad Henderson is the president of the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation, and between him and my brother, they approached me and said Johnstown would be the perfect fit to raise some money for this great cause.”

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