JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – The Johnstown Chiefs have announced affiliations with the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League.
The Chiefs will be the exclusive ECHL affiliate of the Lightning and Tampa Bay will send an unspecified number of players to Johnstown. The Chiefs were an affiliate of the Lightning in 2000-01. Johnstown also has an affiliation with the San Jose Sharks of the NHL and the Cleveland Barons of the AHL for 2004-05.
“We are very pleased to affiliate with such a storied and venerable team as the Johnstown Chiefs. During my American Hockey League days in Hershey (Pennsylvania), I had the opportunity to work with the Johnstown organization and I know what an excellent hockey program they run and what tremendous fan support they receive,” said Lightning executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster. “(Johnstown head coach and director of hockey operations) Toby O’Brien has been a friend to many of us in the Lightning organization for quite some time now and I have known and respected (Johnstown owner) Rick Adams since my first days in professional hockey almost 15 years ago. From the standpoint of geography, quality of operation, fan support and player development, we believe that Johnstown will serve us well as we look to continue to develop championship teams at all levels throughout our organization.”
The Chiefs are coming off one of their most successful seasons on the ice in team history, setting team records in 2003-04 for wins (45), points (97), home wins (26), road wins (19), fewest losses (20) and fewest goals allowed (195).
“We are very happy to return as an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning. It is a great opportunity for the Chiefs to work with the defending Stanley Cup champions along with (general manager) Jay Feaster, (head coach) John Tortorella and the rest of the Tampa Bay coaching staff,” said O’Brien. “Tampa Bay has one of the strongest minor league systems in the NHL and we are looking forward to assisting them in the development of their players.”
For the fifth consecutive year the ECHL is represented on the Stanley Cup Champion with Ruslan Fedotenko, Nolan Pratt and Andre Roy as well as radio play-by-play announcer Dave Mishkin and assistant equipment manager Dana Heinze. Heinze was the equipment manager for Johnstown from 1988-92 and from 1995-99 while Mishkin began his broadcasting career with the Chiefs in 1991-92.