The Pittsburgh Penguins alumni team is set to take on the current Johnstown Tomahawks at 1st SUMMIT ARENA on March 30 for the Pens Alumni Classic presented by UPMC Health Plan. Tickets are on sale now through ticketmaster.com and the arena box office. To get ready for the game, let’s take a look at some of the biggest stories for the charity matchup.
PENS RETURN TO JOHNSTOWN
The Alumni Classic will be the first time a Penguins team visits 1st Summit Arena since Johnstown won the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA in September 2015. Johnstown was the first-ever winner of the competition in which fans vote for the best hockey community across the United States. As part of its victory, Johnstown hosted a preseason NHL game between the Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
This season marks the 30th anniversary of the Johnstown Chiefs, who played their inaugural season in 1988. In celebration, nearly a dozen former Chiefs players, including members of the original team, will be returning to Johnstown to join the Pens alumni team. In addition, Johnstown Jets legend Reg Kent will be behind the bench to help coach the alumni team.
LITTLE KNOWN CONNECTION
Johnstown was actually home to the Penguins’ training camp for three seasons in the 1980s. Erie and Johnstown split time as the home of Pens’ training camp in 1981-82, but Johnstown became the lone host for 1982-83 and 1983-84 seasons. Included on Pittsburgh’s roster for those seasons was Phil Bourque, who will be part of the alumni team visiting Johnstown in March.
LOTS OF HARDWARE
The Pens alumni team will feature a variety of Pittsburgh legends with quite a collection of hardware. Bryan Trottier, a left-handed center who played for the Pens between 1990 and 1994, has six Stanley Cups, an Art Ross Trophy for leading the league in points, Hart Memorial Trophy for being the player deemed most valuable to his team, a Conn Smythe Trophy for being the playoff MVP, a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame and several All-Star game nominations.
Accompanying Trottier to Johnstown in March will also be Bourque, a former Pittsburgh left winger and defenseman who won back-to-back Cups with the Pens in 1991 and ’92. Tyler Kennedy will also join the alumni team, the former center won the Cup with the Pens in 2009. The full line-up will be announced in the coming weeks.
THE YOUNG GUNS
It’s nearly every young hockey player’s dream to make it to the NHL. The current Johnstown Tomahawks roster is no exception, with a set a players age 17 to 20. No Tomahawks player was born in time to see the likes of Trottier and Bourque play in an NHL game. Instead, the young athletes in Johnstown heard the stories of such legends from family and friends, while seeing the highlights on TV.
In fact, Tomahawks captain Cade Groton would have only been 11 years old when Kennedy lifted the Cup in 2009. For some of the Tomahawks, the Alumni Classic will serve as an opportunity to play against their childhood heroes – or even some of their parents’ childhood heroes.
Tickets for the Alumni Classic are currently on sale for $10 each. They can be bought at the arena box office or by visiting ticketmaster.com. As a reminder, Tomahawks season ticket holder can visit the arena box office until Feb 26th to purchase their current seats. The Scott’s By Dam VIP packages are now SOLD OUT.