The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


October 21, 2005

Chiefs begin season with new coach, ownership

The Johnstown Chiefs have a new head coach and a revamped front office.

There’s a new primary owner and an NHL presence in the ownership group.

The roster includes a lot of new names and only a few familiar faces.

By the time the puck is dropped at 7:05 tonight in Columbia, S.C., a new era of Chiefs hockey will be under way.

“I know one thing, this will give us a little bit of an indication of where we are,” said Frank Anzalone, a veteran coach in his first season with Johnstown. “How much depth do we have? Can we handle pressure? It’s their opening night. They’re going to come at us hard with everything they have.

“It’s a long trip for one game. Then jumping back for a long trip home, it’s an indicator of where our passion is and how we can handle it.”

The Chiefs and Columbia Inferno will play the opener at Carolina Coliseum. The team then will bus nine hours overnight to Johnstown for Saturday’s home opener against Reading at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

Anzalone has been coaching since the 1980-81 season, with stops in the USHL, NCAA, AHL and ECHL. He previously coached ECHL teams in Nashville (1991-92), Roanoke (1993-98) and Pee Dee (1999-01). The 51-year-old Brooklyn native coached Lake Superior State University to a national championship in 1987-88.

“I’ve been doing it a long time,” Anzalone said. “I thought I would be a little bit more uptight at the Wheeling (exhibition) game. But it didn’t bother me much. We’ve practiced well. We’ve done a lot of things correct in practice. We know what we’re doing. It comes down to the players knowing things and executing the strategy.”

The Chiefs have strong ties to the Tampa Bay Lightning, which has ownership interest in Johnstown and also is affiliated with Springfield in the AHL.

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