JOHNSTOWN, Pa., May 23, 2012 -- --Former Johnstown Chiefs Team Captain and Assistant Coach Jason Spence Named Head Coach
Johnstown Sports Partners LLC, a private investment group led by Esmark, Inc. Chairman and CEO James P. Bouchard, today announced in conjunction with the North American Hockey League (NAHL) that it has named its new team the "Johnstown Tomahawks" and unveiled a new team logo and name design that honors the storied history of the Johnstown Chiefs and its home arena made famous in the classic hockey film, "Slapshot."
Johnstown Sports Partners also announced that Jason Spence, a former Johnstown Chiefs player, team captain, assistant coach and current assistant coach of the East Coast Hockey League's Greenville Road Warriors, has been named head coach. Spence, who served as the Chiefs' assistant coach from 2009 to 2010, is widely recognized for his player development skills and extensive scouting and recruiting experience.
The "Johnstown Tomahawks" team will debut their new look and uniforms when it begins its first NAHL season in October at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, site of filming for the classic 1977 hockey movie, "Slapshot." The team logo and name's color scheme of red, white and blue was created as a tribute to the American war veterans honored and commemorated throughout the War Memorial Arena for their sacrifices and service to our country.
The "Tomahawks" nickname was chosen to symbolize the new team's fighting spirit, exciting style of play and good sportsmanship the team and its fans expect from their young players.
James P. Bouchard, Chairman and CEO of Esmark, Inc., and Majority Owner of the Johnstown Tomahawks, said the team name and logo was chosen after considerable thought and after receiving a large and vocal response from Johnstown hockey fans across the region and the country. "The Johnstown Hockey Nation has been abuzz since May 11th when we announced the acquisition and relocation of the Alaska Avalanche to Johnstown, and they contributed great ideas for the team name and logo. And, interest and inquiries from potential player candidates, scouts, sponsors and local businesses looking to join with us has been terrific. That's a testament to the local community and region's love for hockey, and we believe the choice of our team name and logo reflects that intense loyalty and enthusiasm."
Richard E. Bouchard, Johnstown Tomahawks Team President, added that the organization has been hard at work since May 11th preparing for a number of team and season activities including welcoming the incoming players who choose to relocate from Alaska, player tryouts, team operations, sponsorship marketing and community outreach. "Our goal is to showcase the talents of these young men and pave the way for their futures, provide an exciting brand of junior hockey that our fans will embrace, and recognize the Chiefs and our war veterans in an atmosphere everyone will enjoy," he said.
"Our New Head Coach Will Be a Great Leader, Teacher and Role Model"
Former Johnstown Chiefs star and Johnstown Tomahawks General Manager Rick Boyd said that the selection of Jason Spence as head coach is a perfect fit for the Johnstown Tomahawks and the community. "Jason was the hardest-working player on the ice and a wonderful team ambassador off the ice. The fans loved him and he connected with this community so well that he relocated to Johnstown, married a local woman and made huge sacrifices to pursue his love of coaching and mentoring young players," Boyd explained. "I know our young men will be thrilled to have Jason as their coach."
Spence played and was Captain of the East Coast Hockey League's (ECHL) Johnstown Chiefs from 2005 to 2006; was Assistant Captain from 2000-2003; and served again as Assistant Captain from 2007-2009. He also worked as Director of Community Relations for the Chiefs from 2009-2010.
NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld congratulated the new team and head coach selection and said, "Today is an exciting step for the Johnstown organization as they establish a new identity and continue to introduce the North American Hockey League to new fans. With a strong and committed ownership group, an established group of veteran players and an experienced and knowledgeable head coach, they have all the tools in place to be a success, both on and off the ice in their inaugural season."
In addition to the new team name and logo designs, the Johnstown Tomahawks announced they have established a temporary website at www.johnstowntomahawks.com that includes information on the team; social media access platforms and videos; and upcoming events, front-office contacts and links to other NAHL franchises. The team will also be featured on the NAHL's website at www.nahl.com .
About Johnstown Sports Partners and the Johnstown Tomahawks
The Johnstown Sports Partners ownership group includes Chairman and Majority Owner James P. Bouchard; Mark Lee, former Alaska Avalanche principal owner and minority owner of the new team; and James Vasilko, President of Johnstown Construction Company and minority owner of the new team. The Johnstown Tomahawks front-office team includes Team President Richard E. Bouchard; Rick Boyd, General Manager and Head of Hockey Operations; and former Chiefs player and Director of Business Operations, Jean Desrochers.