The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

August 15, 2013

Tomahawks hitting the town

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown will become a hockey town again in 30 days when the Tomahawks open their second season in the North American Hockey League.

But fans will get extensive opportunities over the next month to get better acquainted with the team, as the front office staff has aligned a program of meet-and-greet appearances and community projects to link players with diverse cultural backgrounds to a city with a strong love for the game.

The programs range from housing and humanity projects and visiting regional medical centers, to players delivering season tickets to residences. The initial meet-and-greet program is scheduled to face off on Saturday night in Richland. The junior players, ranging from ages 17-20, are to report to Johnstown this weekend. Practices begin on Monday.

“The program is all about getting the new guys to see the best fans in league,” Tomahawks general manager Rick Boyd said, after the Cambria County War Memorial crammed in more than 4,000 fans to see the team’s inaugural Junior-A game last September. “This is our first real year of a team that we built from the ground up, a product of what the coaches have built. With 17 guys returning for their second season, it’s really our first for building a team and we want to make sure they fit into Johnstown.”

Boyd insists that the programs were put into play by many members of the Tomahawks staff, including members with professional hockey backgrounds who played or started their careers in the city.

“From our marketing staff to our hockey operations ... Our gameday people have done a fabulous job of setting up events and getting the players involved,” Boyd said. “Ultimately, it was a team effort but it was derived by our marketing staff to introduce the team to the community, and help them fall in love with this city and the people.”

Which is what Boyd experienced with the Johnstown Chiefs in six of his eight years as a professional hockey player.

Johnstown director of business operations Jean Desrochers had the same Johnstown experience as a player for the Chiefs for parts of four seasons beginning in 2005. He went on to play two stints in the AHL and coaches the Junior Chiefs squads in the city.

“We want to show the players what Johnstown has to offer,” Desrochers said. “We want them to become a part of the community, become involved, and have those experiences and appreciate it. It sort of a way for our players to give back to the city.”

The Tomahawks open the season on Sept. 14 against Port Huron at the War Memorial.

Mike Burns is the sports editor at The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurnsTD.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local Sports
  • racin 0416 Jennerstown Speedway gearing for May open

    Jennerstown Speedway released a very ambitious schedule on its website and continues to prepare for its 2014 reopening.
    The track is set to hold a practice day for drivers as well as an open house and media day on April 26.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Hawks already building toward next season

    Jason Spence used up his cell phone’s battery on a trip from Johnstown to his parents’ home in Nova Scotia, Canada.
    Once the Johnstown Tomahawks coach got to his destination, Spence had to get creative to secure cell service across the border.

    April 16, 2014

  • Pirates 0416 Dominant Cueto drops Pirates in matinee

    That playoff loss in Pittsburgh last year? Johnny Cueto never thought about it much. So getting a chance to shut out the Pirates in a rematch wasn’t any more special.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0416 Penguins rally to wear out Jackets

    Brandon Sutter scored on a wrist shot from the left circle 8:18 into the third period, helping the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals on Wednesday night.
    Beau Bennett and Matt Niskanen scored power-play goals 45 seconds apart in the second period, erasing Pittsburgh’s two-goal deficit.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shelley and McElligot Series serves as reunion for former Chiefs personnel

    Not so long ago, Bob McElligott, like most Western Pennsylvania hockey fans, would savor a long Pittsburgh Penguins playoff run.
    The Somerset native followed the Pens’ Stanley Cup-winning teams in 1991 and 1992.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malkin nearing return

    The Columbus Blue Jackets are the closest NHL team to the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least geographically. The two franchises are separated by 185 miles of highway.

    April 15, 2014

  • Reds swing way past Pirates

    Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole's winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
    First, the NL Central rivals completed a game that was suspended in the sixth inning because of rain the previous night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pitt ends its spring practices

    No tailgating.
    No trip to a local high school.

    April 15, 2014

  • Pirates Game 1 0415 Pirates edge out Reds in suspended game

    After all those home runs and an overnight delay, it was settled by a single.
    Andrew McCutchen doubled and came around on Russell Martin’s single in the seventh inning on Tuesday, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates an 8-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds in the completion of a game that spanned two days and 10 home runs.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • track_B1 WestPAC relays go to Windber boys, Berlin girls

    Rain showers and dropping temperatures put a damper on Monday’s WestPAC Relays at Berlin Brothersvalley High School.
    For the Berlin girls and the boys from Windber, however, discomfort was not much of a factor.
    The Mountaineers won their third straight relay title while the Ramblers reclaimed the title from defending champ Shade.

    April 14, 2014 2 Photos

AP Video
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
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide