Johnstown sports and business icon Don Hall died early Sunday morning at age 87.
Hall had been ill and was residing in Mechanicsburg near family in recent weeks, said close friend and longtime business associate James Hargreaves of Westmont.
“There are so many people in this area that could tell you a Don Hall story,” said Hargreaves, who is a former co-chairman of the Sunnehanna Amateur Tournament for Champions. “It’s absolutely incredible. He affected a lot of people.
“He was a great guy, a great friend and he really was like a father to me. There will be a lot of households in Johnstown tonight making a toast to Don Hall.”
Hall had been part of the region’s hockey history almost from the outset of the professional game in Johnstown. He was a prolific goal-scorer with the Johnstown Jets in the 1950s and 1960s, served as president of the Johnstown Jets during their championship season in 1974-75 and was part of the filming of “Slap Shot” in 1976.
Hall was a supporter of the region’s youth hockey programs and helped start what now is known as the travel hockey program 50 years ago during a competition in Lake Placid, New York. He capped his hockey legacy by serving as a prominent figure in Johnstown and Cambria County War Memorial Arena’s campaign to earn the inaugural Kraft Hockeyville USA title in 2015.
A native of Toronto, Ontario, Hall came to Johnstown to play for the Jets in the former Eastern Hockey League in 1951-52 and played through the 1961-62 season, earning the nickname Jet 9 because of his uniform number.
Hall scored 393 goals and 979 points with the Jets and was part of five playoff championship teams. He scored at least 100 points in a season three times and was an Eastern Hockey League all-star left wing for nine consecutive years.
The talented forward was part of the United States team in the 1962 World Hockey Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and he coached the 1963-64 U.S. team that toured the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War era.
Near the end of his playing days, Hall began a career in the investment business. He worked for decades at what is now Morgan Stanley and had been formerly known for many years as Butcher & Singer Inc. in Johnstown.
A senior vice president at Morgan Stanley, Hargreaves worked with Hall for four-plus decades. He said Hall retired in March after more than 50 years in the business.
“He was one of a kind,” Hargreaves said. “We had a 45-year relationship. We spent thousands of hours on the golf course and thousands of hours going to hockey games together. He was always willing to help out anybody he could. He was very generous. Just the best. Not too many guys around like Don Hall.”
Johnstown Tomahawks President Richard Bouchard said Hall offered support when the Tier II Junior team moved to Johnstown in 2012.
“He told us how great the town was with hockey,” Bouchard said. “Wherever Don Hall went to the arena with Hockeyville or any other night, he was just such a presence. He was very supportive of the Tomahawks and what we were trying to do in the community. Our Tomahawks family offers condolences to his family.”
Hall also was an avid golfer who sponsored a tournament at Sunnehanna Country Club for many years. Sunnehanna dedicated the par-3 No. 5 hole in Hall’s name in 2011.
The Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame inducted Hall into its inaugural Class of 1965.
Hall’s No. 9 jersey was retired by the Johnstown Chiefs in the early 1990s and a banner was hung in the arena.
Hall is survived by his wife, Jean; son, Jeff; and daughters, Hollis and Heather.
Hargreaves said Picking Treece Bennett Mortuary will handle the arrangements.