|Home arena||Cambria County War Memorial Arena|
|Colors||Black, gold, white|
|2010–2015||Greenville Road Warriors|
|2015–present||Greenville Swamp Rabbits|
|Regular season titles||None|
The Johnstown Chiefs were a minor league ice hockey team located in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, that played in the ECHL. The team was founded in 1987 in the All-American Hockey League, and moved to the East Coast Hockey League (now "ECHL") when that league was formed. The Chiefs lasted for 22 years in Johnstown, and was the last of the founding ECHL teams playing under its original name and in its original city. The Chiefs relocated to Greenville, South Carolina, following the completion of the 2010 season.
The owners originally wanted to name the team the Jets in honor of a team that had played in Johnstown from 1950 to 1977, mostly in the Eastern Hockey League. However, the old Jets' former owners still held the trademark for the name and refused to allow the new team to use it. A contest was held by the owners, allowing the people of Johnstown to vote for the new team name. The cult hockey movie Slap Shot had been filmed in Johnstown, and featured a minor league team called the Charlestown Chiefs. The fans readily jumped on the tie-in, and the Johnstown Chiefs were born.
The Chiefs played their home games in the historic 3,745 seat Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, where most of the hockey scenes in the movie Slap Shot were filmed. Despite popular belief, the Chiefs uniforms colors (black, gold, and white) were not chosen because of the local fans' connection to the Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. Shortly after the emergency lease had been approved by the Cambria County War Memorial, head coach Joe Selenski traveled to Canada to find the team uniforms and called War Memorial Marketing Director Dennis Grenell at 3:00 AM to tell him that the only uniforms he could find were black and gold (similar to the Boston Bruins' uniforms of the 1970s), but he did not have enough money to buy them. Grennell agreed to pay for the uniforms using his own credit card. Coincidentally, the Chiefs' first minor league affiliation would be with the Boston Bruins.
The Chiefs along with the Wheeling Thunderbirds (now known as the Wheeling Nailers) played the role of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1995 film Sudden Death starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. The premise was the Penguins playing the Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup when terrorists attempt to hold the Vice President hostage in the arena.
On August 17, 2007, the Chiefs announced that they entered into an affiliation agreement with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche. During the 2007–08 season, the Chiefs served as the Avalanche's secondary minor league affiliate. On September 18, 2007, the Chiefs announced they had also entered an affiliation agreement with the Boston Bruins for the 2007–08 season.
Prior to the 2008–09 season the Chiefs re-signed their affiliation with the Avalanche and entered into an affiliation agreement with the Columbus Blue Jackets, replacing the Bruins, on August 22, 2008.
For the 2009–10 season, the Chiefs were the secondary minor league affiliate to the Minnesota Wild. Jeff Flanagan took up the role of head coach to start the year. After leading the team to an ECHL cellar dwelling 9–19–7 record, Flanagan was fired, replaced for the remainder of the season by majority owner Neil Smith on January 10, 2010.
In February 2010, the Tribune-Democrat reported that television reports from Greenville, South Carolina, stated that the Chiefs would be relocated to Greenville following the season and compete at the BI-LO Center. Greenville had previously been home to the Greenville Grrrowl, who played in the ECHL from 1998 to 2006 when the ECHL revoked Greenville's franchise rights. On February 17, 2010, the league announced that the Chiefs would be relocating to Greenville after the league's Board of Governors voted unanimously in favor of the move. News of the relocation also made the press in New York City, including the New York Times, due to Smith being the former president and governor of the New York Rangers and former general manager of the New York Islanders. The team, renamed the Greenville Road Warriors, then became affiliated with the Rangers.
The team played their final game as the Johnstown Chiefs on Saturday April 3, 2010. The result was a 5–3 loss to the Elmira Jackals. According to a pre-game address by minority owner Ned Nakles to the fans in attendance, the Chiefs name, logo, team records and history would not follow the franchise to Greenville, but would remain in Johnstown under ownership by a non-profit group to possibly be used again should a new team enter the ECHL in the city.
The Wheeling Nailers, the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, announced prior to the Chiefs season finale that they would play 10 of their 36 regular season home games and one preseason game at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena during the 2010–11 ECHL season.
Records as of 2009–10 season.
|1988–89||ECHL||60||32||22||—||6||—||70||.583||295||251||Steve Carlson||Lost in Finals|
|1989–90||ECHL||60||23||31||—||6||—||52||.433||233||291||2047||Steve Carlson||Did not qualify|
|1990–91||ECHL||East||64||32||29||—||3||—||67||.523||324||287||1646||Steve Carlson||Lost in round 2|
|1991–92||ECHL||West||64||36||23||—||5||—||77||.601||294||248||1750||Steve Carlson||Lost in round 2|
|1992–93||ECHL||East||64||34||23||—||7||—||75||.585||281||264||1647||Ed Johnstone||Lost in round 2|
|1993–94||ECHL||North||68||37||27||—||4||—||78||.573||323||308||1978||Ed Johnstone||Lost in round 1|
|1994–95||ECHL||North||68||31||32||—||5||—||67||.492||256||297||1656||Ed Johnstone||Lost in round 1|
|1995–96||ECHL||North||70||21||38||—||11||—||53||.378||249||322||2481||Nick Fotiu||Did not qualify|
|1996–97||ECHL||North||70||24||39||7||—||—||55||.392||253||354||2287||Nick Fotiu||Did not qualify|
|Did not qualify|
|1998–99||ECHL||Northeast||70||27||34||9||—||—||63||.450||218||265||1734||Scott Allen||Did not qualify|
|1999–00||ECHL||Northwest||70||33||28||—||9||—||75||.535||235||234||1959||Scott Allen||Lost in round 3|
|2000–01||ECHL||Northwest||72||28||36||8||—||—||64||.444||207||238||1865||Scott Allen||Lost in round 2|
|2001–02||ECHL||Northwest||72||39||31||2||—||—||80||.555||220||232||1688||Scott Allen||Lost in round 3|
|2002–03||ECHL||Northwest||72||28||33||11||—||—||67||.465||214||243||1700||Toby O'Brien||Did not qualify|
|2003–04||ECHL||Northern||72||45||20||7||—||—||97||.673||223||195||1491||Toby O'Brien||Lost in Qualifier|
|2004–05||ECHL||North||72||22||36||14||—||—||58||.402||191||258||1421||Toby O'Brien||Did not qualify|
|2005–06||ECHL||North||72||30||26||16||—||—||76||.527||223||243||1119||Frank Anzalone||Lost in round 2|
|2006–07||ECHL||North||72||33||33||—||3||3||72||.500||216||232||1179||Frank Anzalone||Lost in round 1|
|2007–08||ECHL||North||72||36||30||—||3||3||78||.541||235||234||1568||Ian Herbers||Lost in round 2|
|2008–09||ECHL||North||72||37||30||—||5||0||79||.549||228||232||1472||Ian Herbers||Did not qualify|
|Did not qualify|
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime losses, SOL = Shootout losses, Pts = Points, PCT = Winning percentage, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|#||Player||Position||Year(s) with Chiefs||NHL Team||Year(s) in NHL|
|31||Scott Bailey||G||1992–93||Boston Bruins||1995–97|
|55||Garrett Burnett||LW||1997–98||Mighty Ducks of Anaheim||2003–04|
|—||Shawn Byram||LW||1989–90||Chicago Blackhawks
New York Islanders
|—||John Craighead||RW||1992–93||Toronto Maple Leafs||1996–97|
|—||Andre Deveaux||C||2005–07||Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Rangers
|—||Benoit Dusablon||C||2000–01||New York Rangers||2003–04|
|—||Brian Eklund||G||2005–06||New York Rangers||2005–06|
|23||Matt Glennon||LW||1991–92||Boston Bruins||1991–92|
|30||Scott Gordon||G||1988–89||Quebec Nordiques
New York Islanders (head coach)
Philadelphia Flyers (head coach)
|30||David Gove||C||2001–02||Carolina Hurricanes||2005–07|
|1||Arturs Irbe||G||2003–2004||San Jose Sharks
|31||Neil Little||G||1994–95||Philadelphia Flyers||2001–02|
|—||Raymond Macias||D||2007–09||Colorado Avalanche||2008–09|
|—||Marquis Mathieu||D||1995–96||Boston Bruins||1998–2001|
|—||Brett McLean||C||1999–2000||Chicago Blackhawks
|17||Mitch Molloy||LW||1989–90||Buffalo Sabres||1989–90|
|26||Chris Mueller||C||2008–09||Nashville Predators
New York Rangers
|—||Doug O'Brien||D||2004–05||Tampa Bay Lightning||2005–06|
|—||Wes O'Neill||D||2007–09||Colorado Avalanche||2008–10|
|17||Greg Parks||RW||1989–90||New York Islanders||1990–93|
|—||Dimitri Patzold||G||2003–04||San Jose Sharks||2007–08|
|44||Jay Rosehill||D||2005–07||Toronto Maple Leafs
|30||Dany Sabourin||G||2000–02||Calgary Flames
|8||Ryan Savoia||C||1996–98||Pittsburgh Penguins||1998–99|
|15||Jody Shelley||LW||1998–2000||Columbus Blue Jackets
San Jose Sharks
New York Rangers
|—||Jason Simon||LW||1990–91||New York Islanders
|1||Peter Skudra||G||1995–97||Pittsburgh Penguins
|—||Radek Smolenak||LW||2006–07||Tampa Bay Lightning
|—||Grant Stevenson||RW||2004–05||San Jose Sharks||2005–06|
|10||Billy Tibbetts||RW||1995–96||Pittsburgh Penguins
New York Rangers
|—||John Tripp||RW||1998–2000||New York Rangers
Los Angeles Kings
|4||Derrick Walser||D||1998–2000||Columbus Blue Jackets||2001–04, 2006–07|
The Chiefs retired four numbers: the numbers of Don Hall, Dick Roberge, Galen Head and Reg Kent, all of whom had played for the Johnstown Jets.
The following players were named to the ECHL All-Star team, announced at the end of the season.
The following players received individual awards from the ECHL, announced at the end of the season.