Tonight's preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins will be particularly special. The two clubs will be competing in Johnstown, Pa., which won the Kraft-sponsored contest to become Hockeyville USA.
With that contest win, Johnstown's famed Cambria County War Memorial Arena got some important upgrades that will make it a more efficient facility. It also gets to host an NHL preseason game to break in the new digs.
Johnstown is particularly special in hockey history thanks to being a longtime home of minor league hockey and more memorably, the inspiration for and site of filming for the classic movie Slap Shot.
So in addition to the exhibition game, there's a lot of Slap Shot memories being shared in Johnstown. That includes a very special appearance by the most feared trio in the history of hockey, fictional or otherwise. The famous Hanson Brothers are on hand for Tuesday night's festivities.
The Hansons, which is comprised of real-life former minor leaguers Steve and Jeff Carlson and Dave Hanson, spent some quality time in their old haunt. That's where they met the captain of the Lightning, Steven Stamkos. We're not sure who was more excited by all this, but Stamkos sure seemed thrilled by the whole thing:
The Hansons have been performing as their movie alter egos for years now, making appearances at minor league hockey games and entertaining the masses. I remember seeing them during an intermission in the old International Hockey League and thinking it was better than the game. I was like 12, though.
They should certainly bring an element of fun to Johnstown's NHL debut. And foil. Lots and lots of foil.