Esmark CEO James Bouchard is leading the charge on a deal to bring an Alaskan minor league hockey team to the Western Pennsylvania city that inspired the cult movie hit Slap Shot, according to the Associated Press.
Bouchard, chief executive and chairman of Sewickley-based Esmark Inc., is heading the deal that would relocate the North American Hockey League's Alaska Avalanche to Johnstown, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Bouchard's group of investors, Johnstown Sports Partners LLC, are scheduled to announce the deal later today at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena, where the junior league franchise team will play, the AP reports.
Bouchard told the AP he's "excited about bringing a new brand of junior hockey to the region that recognizes the illustrious past of the Johnstown Chiefs."
The original Hanson Brothers from the 1977 Paul Newman film Slap Shot are no strangers to this area.
Dave Hanson, who now serves as the executive director of Robert Morris University's Island Sports Center on Neville Island, and his brothers Steve and Jeff Carlson played the violence-prone Hanson brothers trio in the hockey cult classic released three decades ago.
They most recently hit the ice together in March at Island Sports Center for a charity hockey tournament, sporting their signature dark-rimmed glasses and Chiefs jerseys to appear in character.
Much of the movie was filmed in Johnstown and Dave Hanson's wife is from Nanty Glo, near Johnstown.
He first came to the area more than 30 years ago to play for the Johnstown Jets, a defunct professional hockey team that served as the inspiration for Slap Shot's Charlestown Chiefs. Hanson later played professional hockey from 1974 to 1984 with the Detroit Red Wings and the defunct Minnesota North Stars (now the Dallas Stars) organizations.