Gerry Zaccaria was a member of the original Johnstown Chiefs team in 1988, and to this day he still skates with Ex-NHL players in Florida every summer. He was looking forward to playing against the Flyers.
“I was pretty disappointed when I heard they weren’t coming,” said Zaccaria. “I figured we might as well invite the guy that used to rough them up for a living.”
That person being former Penguins defenseman and fan favorite Darius Kasparaitis.
Kasparaitis and Zaccaria play on the same team near Miami and he was able to make the connection for the January 19 game.
Considered one of the toughest players to ever play the game, Kasparaitis was known for his hard-hitting and gritty playing style, which can be seen by his 1379 career penalty minutes over his 14-year career.
Since retiring from hockey in 2016, he moved to Miami and co-founded a real estate development company. Despite working full time and having six kids, he still makes time to get on the ice a few hours every day.
“I’ve never seen a guy that dedicated and passionate about the game even after retirement,” Zaccaria said. “Fans will love watching him play, he’s in great shape and can still skate circles around guys out there. In talking with Darius, he said that he was looking forward to coming to the home of Slapshot and sharing some old stories from his time with the Penguins.”
Kasparaitis will be joining Stanley Cup champion Tyler Kennedy and several former Chiefs on January 19th. They’ll be playing against the Johnstown Warriors U18 squad.
Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. and the puck will drop at 5 p.m.
Fans can attend this event with the purchase of a ticket to the Tomahawks game against Wilkes Barre that same night.
Kasparaitis will be available to meet fans during the Tomahawks game.