Johnstown Tomahawks: New NAHL Team and Head Coach Named

By Stephanie Lewark

Last month I reported on Johnstown, PA acquiring an NAHL Tier II Junior A hockey team formerly known as the Alaska Avalanche.

That team not only has a new home at Johnstown’s Cambria County War Memorial Arena now, but it also has a new name complete with new team colors, logos, and head coach.

Last week, another press conference was held at the War Memorial Arena for team president, Rick Bouchard, to introduce the Johnstown Tomahawks (whose team mascot was an Indian named and make a few other team-related announcements as well as unveil the team jerseys.

The name as well as the logos pay tribute to Johnstown’s former ECHL team, the Johnstown Chiefs, which was sold and moved to Greenville, SC after making Johnstown its home for more than 20 years.  The colors are actually paying homage to the local war veterans with red, white, and blue.

According to the press release, the 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.

The Tomahawks also named their new head coach, Jason Spence, whom is a former player, team captain, and assistant coach (2009, 2010) for the Johnstown Chiefs.

Johnstown’s new NAHL team is just in time to be part of a new, restructured North American Hockey League.  This upcoming season (2012-13), the NAHL will consist of a four-division, 24-team league as opposed to the five-division, 28-team league  it was previously.  Johnstown will be part of the North division and won’t be the only team new to the league as the Soo Eagles (from the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League) will also join the NAHL and be part of the same division as the Tomahawks.  The North division will be comprised of eight teams, four of which coming from Michigan state (Soo Eagles, Port Huron Fighting Falcons, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings, Michigan Warriors, Jamestown Ironmen-New York, Janesville Jets-Wisconsin, Johnstown Tomahawks-Pennsylvania, and Springfield Jr. Blues-Illinois).

It will be vital for the Johnstown hockey fans to support their new NAHL team; however, it’s just as vital for the organization to make Johnstown a part of the team with better PR than was had by the Johnstown Chiefs.

As a start, I encourage all supporters to visit the team’s webpages:

Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.

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