The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Sports

September 28, 2012

Lemieux appearance to highlight Tomahawks’ War Memorial debut

JOHNSTOWN — The Johnstown Tomahawks’ NAHL season began three weeks ago.

But for Johnstown hockey fans, it becomes official tonight.

The Tomahawks will play their first home game in front of a sellout crowd at Cambria County War Memorial Arena. Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux will drop the ceremonial first puck for the 7:30 p.m. game.

Johnstown will welcome its own hockey team back to the War Memorial for the first time since the Chiefs moved to Greenville, S.C., in 2010.

“This is the big game you play for. This is your home opener,” said Tomahawks first-year head coach Jason Spence, a former Chiefs player and assistant coach. “You want to show everybody what you have and you want to welcome your fans and give them the best you have. We’ve been working real hard this week to make sure we do that.”

The Tomahawks are out to a slow start at 1-3-2, but that all could change with home games tonight and Sunday afternoon against the Michigan Warriors (1-4-0).

“Everyone’s pretty excited and ready for the big game, especially for the home opener and having hockey back in Johnstown,” Tomahawks forward JB Baker said. “I just can’t wait to play.”

Lemieux’s presence won’t go unnoticed.

The Hall of Fame center led the Penguins to two Stanley Cups on the ice in 1991-92 and another as an owner in 2009. No. 66 is credited with reviving the franchise in the 1980s, saving a team that declared bankruptcy in 1998 and helping secure a state-of-the-art new arena, the Consol Energy Center, in 2010.

“This is like one of your dreams, to get to shake hands with a professional hockey player before the game,” said Tomahawks captain Mitch Kontny, who will be at center ice for the ceremonial puck drop.

“It’s something special,” Baker added.

Forward Brandon Platt is from Cranberry, Butler County. He played youth hockey games with the North Pittsburgh Wildcats at the War Memorial and attended his share of Chiefs ECHL games.

“I’m pretty excited about this game. I watched the Chiefs a lot when I was younger and I played up here,” Platt said. “I think it’s going to be pretty nuts because I’ve seen the Chiefs fans. Everybody on the team is pretty excited. The nerves are kicking in a little bit, but I think it will calm down once it gets to be game time.”

Spence has seen significant improvement despite the Tomahawks’ record. The Tier II Junior A players are striving to land a college scholarship or perhaps earn a shot at the pro game.

“The hard work and the passion and desire in these players is amazing,” Spence said. “We’re a team that got moved from a different city and has a lot of new faces but everybody already is like a family in the room. It’s great to be around. Everybody wants to do all they can to do the best they can for the team.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports
  • Penguins 0419 Blue Jackets outlast Pens in double-OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.
    Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0419 Brewers rally to clip Pirates

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Area runners gearing for Boston Marathon

    The time was 12:15 p.m. It was Monday April 19, 1897.  Tom Burke had drawn a line across the dirt road with his foot. Eighteen men gathered near Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland, Massachusetts.

    April 19, 2014

  • SRU vs UPJ baseball0418 1 UPJ takes one, drops second

    John Fees’ spring baseball season accurately mirrors that of his Pitt-Johnstown team.
    Fees started slow, losing his first four decisions, but has rebounded nicely in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference West Division.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Pirates 0418 Brewers ward off late Pirates rally bid

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drama lacking sans Tiger

    If professional golf saw its future at Augusta National last weekend, the sight had to be worse than choking on a 5-foot putt.
    The course was there in all its splendor.

    April 18, 2014

  • Penguins 0418 Penguins are wary of spunky Blue Jackets

    Sidney Crosby is used to the attention. It comes with the territory when you’re the best hockey player in the world.
    Still, the Pittsburgh Penguins star knows the spotlight becomes more acute in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pirates 0417 Pirates power past Brewers

    Andrew McCutchen hit his first homer of the season and drove in three runs, Pedro Alvarez had a three-run shot and pinch-hitter Josh Harrison broke a tie with a long ball in the seventh inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates handed the Milwaukee Brewers their first road loss, 11-2 on Thursday night.
    Harrison’s two-run drive down the left field line off Rob Wooten (0-1) was the second of his career as a pinch hitter.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Penguins 0417 Jackets preparing for Game 2

    The Columbus Blue Jackets don’t feel they’re doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
    “It’s not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,” goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday’s optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local Sports Briefs

    April 17, 2014

AP Sports Video
Poll

Should the NFL get rid of the extra-point attempt after a touchdown?

Yes
No
     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow