Minority owner Ned Nakles made an emotional presentation that lasted nearly 15 minutes before the opening face-off.
"We're here tonight to pay tribute to the greatest hockey fans on the face of the earth," Nakles
said from center ice with the lights dimmed and the spotlight glaring.
"Here in Johnstown we have the tiniest market in the East Coast Hockey League
, and we've got the smallest arena, but our fans have always had the biggest heart anywhere in hockey."
called the Chiefs' departure a "fork in the road" and added "one part of our Chiefs family is leaving, but for those of us who are staying, we still have some things to keep hope alive."
With owner Neil Smith and the ECHL's blessing, Nakles formed a non-profit corporation to maintain the ECHL rights to the Chiefs' name, history, statistics and memorabilia.