The Johnstown Chiefs are a minor league ice hockey team located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, playing in the ECHL. The team was founded in 1988 in the All-American Hockey League, and moved to the East Coast Hockey League (now just 'ECHL') when that league was formed. The Chiefs are the only original ECHL team still playing under its original name, and the only one still in its original city.
Official Johnstown Chiefs Website: http://www.johnstownchiefs.com/
The owners originally wanted to name the team the Jets in honor of a team that had played in Johnstown from 1950 to 1977, mostly in the Eastern Hockey League. However, the old Jets' former owners still held the trademark for the name and refused to allow the new team to use it. Fortunately, they had a second choice. A contest was held by the owners, allowing the people of Johnstown to vote for the new team name. The cult hockey movie Slap Shot had been filmed in Johnstown, and featured a minor league team called the Charlestown Chiefs. The fans readily jumped on the tie-in, and the Johnstown Chiefs were born.
The Chiefs play their home games in the historic 3,745 seat Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, where most of the hockey scenes in the movie Slap Shot were filmed. The team colors are black, gold, and white (following an early affiliation with the Boston Bruins), and its uniforms were based on 1970s-era Bruins jerseys.
Among the franchise's notable players has been defenceman Brent Bilodeau; Dmitri Tarabrin (the career leader in games played with 427); Bruce Coles, who holds the career mark for points scored with 227, having played in only 132 games for the team; Scott Gordon, the team's goalie in 1988–89 who played for Team USA at the 1992 Winter Olympics, and became the first ECHL player to advance to the NHL when he suited up for the Quebec Nordiques in 1989–90; all-star defenceman Perry Florio, the franchise's career assist leader with 171; right wing Lukas Smital, the career goal scoring leader with 107; enforcer Jeff Sullivan, the career penalty minute leader with 1205; and goaltender Frederic Deschesnes, who leads the franchise in goaltending games with 152, wins with 69 and shutouts with 5. Goalie Arturs Irbe played for the Chiefs briefly in 2003–2004, going 10–3–1 with a GAA of 2.13 and a .927 save percentage.
Ian Herbers was named as the team's head coach on June 18, 2007.
On August 17, 2007, the Chiefs announced that they entered into an affiliation agreement with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. During the 2007–08 season, the Chiefs served as the Avalanche's secondary minor league affiliate. The Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL being Colorado's primary affiliate. On September 18, 2007, the Chiefs announced they had also entered an affiliation agreement with the Boston Bruins for the 07–08 season.
Prior to the 2008–09 season the Chiefs renewed their affiliation with the Avalanche and entered into an affiliation agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets who replaced the Bruins on August 22, 2008.
The Chiefs along with the Wheeling Thunderbirds (now known as the Wheeling Nailers)played the role of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1995 film Sudden Death starring Jean Claude Van Damme. The premise was the Penguins playing the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup when terrorists attempt to hold the Vice President hostage in the arena.
Records as of 2007–08 season.
|1988–89||ECHL||60||32||22||-||6||-||70||.583||295||251||Steve Carlson||Lost in Finals|
|1989–90||ECHL||60||23||31||-||6||-||52||.433||233||291||2047||Steve Carlson||Out of playoffs|
|1990–91||ECHL||East||64||32||29||-||3||-||67||.523||324||287||1646||Steve Carlson||Lost in round 2|
|1991–92||ECHL||West||64||36||23||-||5||-||77||.601||294||248||1750||Steve Carlson||Lost in round 2|
|1992–93||ECHL||East||64||34||23||-||7||-||75||.585||281||264||1647||Ed Johnstone||Lost in round 2|
|1993–94||ECHL||North||68||37||27||-||4||-||78||.573||323||308||1978||Ed Johnstone||Lost in round 1|
|1994–95||ECHL||North||68||31||32||-||5||-||67||.492||256||297||1656||Ed Johnstone||Lost in round 1|
|1995–96||ECHL||North||70||21||38||-||11||-||53||.378||249||322||2481||Nick Fotiu||Out of Playoffs|
|1996–97||ECHL||North||70||24||39||7||-||-||55||.392||253||354||2287||Nick Fotiu||Out of Playoffs|
|1997–98||ECHL||Northeast||70||23||41||6||-||-||52||.371||219||297||2118||Nick Fotiu |
|Out of Playoffs|
|1998–99||ECHL||Northeast||70||27||34||9||-||-||63||.450||218||265||1734||Scott Allen||Out of Playoffs|
|1999–00||ECHL||Northwest||70||33||28||-||9||-||75||.535||235||234||1959||Scott Allen||Lost in round 3|
|2000–01||ECHL||Northwest||72||28||36||8||-||-||64||.444||207||238||1865||Scott Allen||Lost in round 2|
|2001–02||ECHL||Northwest||72||39||31||2||-||-||80||.555||220||232||1688||Scott Allen||Lost in round 3|
|2002–03||ECHL||Northwest||72||28||33||11||-||-||67||.465||214||243||1700||Toby O'Brien||Out of Playoffs|
|2003–04||ECHL||Northern||72||45||20||7||-||-||97||.673||223||195||1491||Toby O'Brien||Lost in Q/R|
|2004–05||ECHL||North||72||22||36||14||-||-||58||.402||191||258||1421||Toby O'Brien||Out of Playoffs|
|2005–06||ECHL||North||72||30||26||16||-||-||76||.527||223||243||1119||Frank Anzalone||Lost in round 2|
|2006–07||ECHL||North||72||33||33||-||3||3||72||.500||216||232||1179||Frank Anzalone||Lost in round 1|
|2007–08||ECHL||North||72||36||30||-||3||3||78||.541||235||234||1568||Ian Herbers||Lost in round 2|
|2008–09||ECHL||North||72||37||30||-||5||0||79||.549||228||232||1472||Ian Herbers||Out of Playoffs|
GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL = Shootout losses, Pts = Points, PCT = Winning percentage, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
The Chiefs have retired four numbers: The numbers of Don Hall, Dick Roberge, Galen Head and Reg Kent. Hall and Roberge numbers were retired in 1990, Galen Head in 2003 and Reg Kent in 2009. None of these players ever played for the Chiefs, but for the Johnstown Jets. In their 22 seasons of existence, the Chiefs have yet to retire a numbers of a players who played for the team.
7 - Reg Kent 8 - Galen Head 9 - Don Hall 11 - Dick Roberge