Chiefs Owner Tells Paper "Changes are Coming"

In an April 14 article by Mike Mastovich of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown Chiefs President Jim Weber promised that changes are coming.

“Last year we went farther in the playoffs and I’m not happy that we took a step back,” Weber told the paper. “I gave this system two years. I’m starting a reassessment process, everything from top to bottom. I’m going to take into consideration some things the fans said and things people in the hockey operation said. In the end, I’m going to take full responsibility for doing what is right for the entertainment factor for the fans as well as the on-ice product.”

Mastovich notes the Lightning handled personnel moves during a 33-33-6 fifth-place season and “it’s no secret that without Tampa Bay assigning the majority of the players and offsetting many expenses associated with hockey operations, this team would be history in Johnstown.”

He also states that the constant player movement between Johnstown and Springfield was detrimental to the team, leaving them embarrassingly short on players some nights, and fans “frequently complained they were bored watching players attempt to execute [Tampa Bay’s] system.”

Head Coach Frank Anzalone told the newspaper fans should be proud of Chiefs players this year despite the team’s first round exit. However, he also stated: “Yeah, everybody wants to quote-unquote go deep in the playoffs and win Kelly Cups. But you have to have a team built for that. This organization is built to develop hockey players.”

Mastovich reports the Lightning hired Anzalone prior to the 2005-06 season and he has another year remaining on his contract. “But Weber’s comments might indicate that Anzalone’s status is uncertain despite his taking the Chiefs to two straight playoff appearances, including a two-game sweep over Trenton a year ago.”

“I have no desire to operate in the status quo and do the same things,” Weber told the paper. “I’m looking for better results. I’ve talked to the people in Tampa and they’re willing to embark on an effort where we’re going to be able to improve our product on the ice and improve our fan experience. I’m as unhappy as many of our fans about some of the things that have gone on during the past two years. I don’t want to expand on that. Expect changes, because if you do the same thing, you’re going to get the same result.”

For the full article, please see the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.