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Heroes: The Tomahawks will recognize members of the U.S. Armed Services and veterans throughout the season.
The JWF Industries Hero of the Game ceremony for the opener involved the team’s colors.
Sgt. Mike Restauri and Staff Sgt. Jeff Jorinscay, members of the 104th ARB from Johnstown, returned a Tomahawks flag they had planted during their service in Afghanistan.
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Regional Roots: Port Huron forward Noah Batis is from Latrobe. He played his first NAHL game on Saturday.
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Ice Man: Dave Wescott of Raleigh, N.C., squeezed a visit to the War Memorial in between jobs with the Boston Bruins and an arena in Utica, N.Y.
Wescott operates All Star Arenas. He had served as the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes ice technician for a few years and had advisory roles at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, 2006 Italy Olympics and the 2003 and 2009 World Figure Skating Championships.
He’s traveled the country extensively the past 12 years instructing ice rink facility operations and management courses including refrigeration, ice resurfacers, risk management and rink programming.
“First of all we make sure the equipment is up to snuff,” said Westcott, who drove his first Zamboni at age 17 in 1980. “If the machinery is not in top shape it’s hard to do a good job. From there we work on the proper operation of the equipment.
“We’ve seen in this industry that knowledge gets passed down and things start to get missed, especially the basics.”
Wescott advised War Memorial staffers and was on hand to offer support prior to the Tomahawks opener.
“I know the rink floor itself is part of the dilemma here,” Wescott said of the arena, which opened in 1950. “It’s aged. You can count on them for a good 30 or 35 years. I think they’re past that. It just adds to the ice maker’s job. It requires a little more maintenance because it is so old.
“The goal is to get the best sheet of ice possible.”
What was the best advice he offered to the Johnstown crew?
“When they shut the doors after they’ve made the sheet of ice they should look out there and say, ‘Wow. That’s good,’” Wescott said.