Friday, March 26, 2010

Galen Head Redirects Johnstown Chiefs' Charity

March 25, 2010

Ex-hockey star declines Chiefs' charity

JOHNSTOWN — Galen Head appreciated the good intentions, but the former Johnstown Jets star has asked that the kindness be directed to someone else in need.

Head has been battling multiple health problems during the past several months.

Word reached the Johnstown Chiefs office, and the ECHL team initiated an effort to raise funds for Head’s medical expenses.

The Chiefs distributed a news release on Wednesday announcing fundraisers to be held at two of the final home games before the team moves to Greenville, S.C. The Tribune-Democrat ran the release in its Thursday edition and other media outlets reported the story in an effort to boost the fundraising for one of the most popular and successful players in Johnstown hockey history.

But Head, who will turn 63 next month, preferred to remain out of the spotlight as he and his wife, Gracie, and their family move forward.

“My health is a private matter between me and my family,” Head said after calling The Tribune-Democrat on Thursday.

“I’m feeling much better. I’m battling my illnesses, and I feel good about it. I’m going to survive. I’m not going away. I’m going to be around.”

While he was moved by the good will, Head felt any money raised should go to help others.

“If they want to continue with the fund-raiser in my name that’s fine,” Head said. “There are a number of children here (in Johnstown) who are traveling back and forth to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. Maybe it could be used for them. Somebody could use it more than I could. I really do appreciate the gesture. It’s an honest gesture and a well-meaning gesture. But I feel there are other people who could benefit from such a fundraiser.”

Chiefs General Manager Bill Bredin could not be reached Thursday.

The team did release a statement that the fundraising effort will continue during Sunday’s home game and the season and historic finale on April 3.

On Sunday, fans may purchase tickets to win a Galen Head replica No. 8 jersey. On April 3, an authentic, autographed Sidney Crosby jersey will be raffled off.

“It’s important that we still make an effort to help Galen out. If he would like to give the money to another cause, we definitely support that 100 percent,” the Chiefs statement said.

“That shows the kind of person that he is. He cares about others so much that he wants to give back to others.”

Head scored 308 goals and 601 points in eight seasons with the Jets and captained the

1974-75 NAHL Lockhart Cup championship team. His No. 8 jersey was retired in 2003 and a commemorative banner hangs in the rafters at Cambria County War Memorial Arena. The Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame (2006) and Grande Prairie (Alberta) Hall of Fame each inducted Head.

He was one of the founders of the perennially tough Bishop McCort High School team and coached the Crushers to three of their five state championships.

In the mid-1990s Head became a volunteer assistant coach with the ECHL’s Chiefs and served in that capacity for a number of years.

The Galen Head Jr. Memorial Scholarship benefits area high school hockey players and is in honor of Head’s son, a former Chiefs and AHL-IHL equipment manager who died in an automobile accident in 1996.

Photo courtesy Tim Barndt.

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