Quote Originally Posted by Tampa Bay Lightning press release
LIGHTNING ENTER INTO AFFILIATION AGREEMENT WITH ECHL’S JOHNSTOWN CHIEFS
8/12/2004

STORIED FRANCHISE ALSO SERVED AS LIGHTNING AFFILIATE IN 2000-01

The Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning have entered into a one-year affiliation agreement with the Johnstown Chiefs of the East Coast Hockey League, it was announced by Executive Vice President & General Manager Jay Feaster.

Per the agreement, the Chiefs will serve as the exclusive ECHL affiliate of the Lightning during the 2004-05 season. Tampa Bay will send an unspecified number of players to Johnstown throughout the season. The Springfield Falcons serve as the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate.

“We are very pleased to affiliate with such a storied and venerable franchise as the Johnstown Chiefs,” Feaster said. “During my AHL days in Hershey 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. 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 Rick Adams since my first days in pro hockey almost 15 years ago. From the standpoint of geography, quality of operation, fan support and player development, we believe Johnstown will serve us well as we look to continue to develop championship teams at all levels throughout our organization.”

The Johnstown Chiefs were established in 1988, and at that time were one of five teams in the ECHL. Johnstown is the only original member of the league still playing in the same city. In 1976, the Johnstown Jets were immortalized on the motion picture screen as the Paul Newman film Slap Shot featured many of the Jet players and the city of Johnstown. The Cambria County War Memorial Arena, which served as the setting of much of the movie, remains the home of the Chiefs.

Led by Head Coach & Director of Hockey operations Toby O’Brien, the Chiefs had the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference in 2003-04 at 45-20-7 (97 points), and qualified for the ECHL’s Wild Card Round before bowing out against Reading.

The agreement ends a three-year affiliation between the Lightning and the Pensacola Ice Pilots. During the past 12 seasons, Tampa Bay has also had ECHL affiliations with Toledo, Chesapeake, Nashville and Knoxville.
Perhaps the Hanson brothers will FINALLY get their shot at the NHL.