The Johnstown Chiefs will host their final ECHL game today when they host the Elmira Jackals at 7:05 p.m. The Pennsylvania-based team, forever linked to the cult hockey movie “Slap Shot,” is relocating to Greenville, S.C.
Johnstown is the only one of the ECHL’s original five teams that has played every one of its 22 seasons in the same city. The Chiefs advanced to the Riley Cup Finals in the ECHL’s inaugural season, 1988-89, where they lost to the Carolina Thunderbirds in seven games.
Over the years, whether they played for the local team or were involved in exhibition games, Maurice Richard, Gordie Howe, Andy Brown and Arturs Irbe played at War Memorial Arena.
In the league’s first season, Johnstown had the ECHL’s goaltender of the year, Scott Gordon, who led the league with a 3.82 goals-against average. Gordon, who is in his second season as head coach of the New York Islanders, became the first ECHL player to play in the NHL when he made his debut with the Quebec Nordiques in 1990.