In eight days the Johnstown Tomahawks' will begin to play meaningful regular season hockey games. Their opening night, September 14th, will mark the first big event of the season. The team will once again hold the second annual "HockeyFest" before puck drop against the Port Huron Fighting Falcons.
The event will begin at 5pm and run up to game time, 7:30pm. Taking place in front of the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, there will be fun games and activities for the entire family, live music, food and drinks, to get the fans ready for the 2013-2014 chase for the Robertson Cup Championship.
Last year Mario Lemieux was on hand to drop the first puck after an awesome opening ceremony which included player intros and fireworks. The team will once again put on another great opening ceremony with indoor firewoks, and for the second year in a row, the Tomahawks' will welcome a Stanley Cup Champion to drop the ceremonial puck, Bill Guerin.
"Bill Guerin is one of the most successful and well-known American-born players to ever play in the NHL," Tomahawks President Richard Bouchard said in a team issued press release. "There is no better person to represent the values and goals of organization than Bill Guerin. Through his tremendous skill, grit, toughness, hard work and determination, he forged a Hall of Fame career and led a generation of American-born hockey stars. We are incredibly pleased to have him help us celebrate the start of our second season."
Last season's home opener saw a crowd of 4,000 fans pack into the arena and they hope to do the same thing again this year.
The Tomahawks made decisions last week on their goaltending situations. As we reported before, the Tomahawks' kept one veteran goalie and one rookie goalie on the NAHL roster.
Colin Brennan was released in favor of newcomer Alex Okicki. Brennan was acquired by the Tomahawks last season in a trade with Janesville. Brennan appeared in 22 games for the Tomahawks, attaining a record of 7-8-5.
There has been some interest in Colin Brennan from team's around the league. One of those teams plays out of the Midwest Division.
Okicki won the Johnstown starting job through his track record and his leadership abilities on and off the ice. In two seasons with the Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings, Okicki amassed a record of 33-20-6.
Rookie netminder Brett Young was originally assigned to Frederick and was to start the season as Freeze's goaltender. Colin DeAugustine was then going to be the backup to Okicki in Johnstown. That plan has changed in the past couple of days, at least for the time being, as DeAugustine was called up to the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms.
Due to a goaltending injury in Youngstown, DeAugustine will be available for this weekends exhibition games, and might see a start in the team's USHL upcoming Showcase tournament.
Johnstown had to then make one more move to put the team at the 25-man roster limit. After much deliberation the team decided to cut returning defenseman and league penalty minute leader, Jake Fairchild. You can read more about the news we first broke on TheTomablog, but since being cut Fairchild has stayed in Johnstown, working hard to try and get a roster spot back.
It seems Fairchild's reputation and hard work has paid off, but for Johnstown fans it isn't the news they'll want to hear. Earlier today Fairchild has signed to play with the Michigan Warriors.
Season Ticket Deliveries:
New to this season, the Johnstown Tomahawks' players hand delivered season tickets to their fans during the past two weeks. The opportunity allowed for fans to get to meet returning and new players. It allowed the players to discover the Johnstown area (some deliveries went as far as the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pa.) It always was a great gesture from the team, shown their appreciation for their fans, and why they were named 2012-2013 Organization of the Year last season.
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