Superstitions and hockey go hand-in-hand.
You are never supposed to utter the word "shutout"
if a goalie is closing in on such a feat.
When a team wins its Conference's championship, it
is considered taboo to touch or lift the trophy.
Even the greatest hockey player of all-time, Wayne
Gretzky, was superstitious. He never cut his hair before a game.
Hockey fans also have their own special rituals and
Johnstown hockey fans are no exception.
For years, fans have flocked to local bar, Scott's
By Dam, to grab a beer and a taco before the hockey game.
It has been a pregame tradition for hockey fans for
many years. The tradition was almost lost when the Johnstown Chiefs left town
in 2010, but the Wheeling Nailers filled the void for two more years until they pulled out of playing 10 games a year in Johnstown.
When the Johnstown Tomahawks announced their
intentions of relocating to Johnstown, Scott McLachlan, the owner of Scott's By
Dam along with his wife, Cindy, open his mind to the junior hockey product.
"I didn't know that much about it," Scott McLachlan
said. "But I opened my mind and let the people that were bringing it to us talk
to me and tell me about it. I am very surprised with the quality. The quality
of hockey is unbelievable."
"New Year's Eve night we came out on the wrong end
of it, but that was probably one of the best hockey games I've seen in many, many
years at the War Memorial. I think this is a good thing for us."
"I believe this is better hockey than what the
Chiefs played in the last four or five years that we had them."
Once the team settled into to town and started
playing games, business at Scott's By Dam picked up every game day, and Scott
McLachlan summed up in one word how the Tomahawks have been for business.
"They help our business an awful lot," Scott McLachlan
"We get players and families," Cindy McLachlan said.
"It's just a great group of people."
Having witnessed many years of Chiefs hockey and the
way the organization presented themselves off the ice, Scott took notice to the
Tomahawks approach to marketing and being in the community.
"They have opened the gates to all of the community,
not just a certain amount of it," Scott McLachlan said. "They have just been phenomenal.
They are open and friendly and they care about what is going on. That is a good
thing for the community of Johnstown, without a doubt."
Cindy McLachlan also offered a major difference
between the Chiefs and the Tomahawks.
"These tickets are economical for everyone. Everyone
can afford to go to these games. It's good hockey and it is affordable."
Besides being sponsors of the team, Scott and Cindy
McLachlan also feed the Tomahawks players and front office staff. In addition,
they also provide food for the visiting team.
When asked about what else they do to make the
Tomahawks feel welcome, Scott McLachlan had this to say.
"We opened up our arms and been ourselves."
The ownership has been maintaining a close
relationship with the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins.
Tomahawks owner Jim Bouchard and Penguins owner
Mario Lemieux are good friends and the Penguins have made a handful of
appearances in Johnstown, including the Charity Classic that is coming up on Wednesday.
"I think what is really going to be awesome for us
is the connection with the Penguins," Scott McLachlan said.
Looking towards the future, the Tomahawks are
projected to be a tremendous help to the revitalization of downtown Johnstown.
"This is going to help the downtown businesses and
the surrounding area businesses," Scott McLachlan said. "If we don't jump on
this we are never hockey again. If this team leaves, we are not having any
hockey ever again. Build the dam up in Seward and call it Lake Johnstown
because it's over at that point."
Scott also commented that the Tomahawks have good
group of young men who are striving to make themselves better in the community.
In closing, Scott had a few words for the skeptics
that might not be trying junior hockey.
"Get off your butts and come and watch them because it's
would like to thank Scott and Cindy McLachlan for taking time out of their busy
workday to sit down with me.