It's not entirely unheard of for a pair of brothers to be able to play high-level hockey together as teammates — like the NHL's Sedin twins in Vancouver, or the Staal brothers in Carolina. The Tomahawks, too, had their own brother tandem with Tommy Hall and his older brother Mitch, who completed his junior eligibility with Johnstown this past season.
Although Mitch Hall has since moved on, the Tomahawks could have yet another brother duo of their own in the 2014-15 season with Ryan and Shane Bednard.
Shane Bednard emerged early last season as a offensive threat every time he touched the puck. The winger led the Tomahawks in points with 51 and gave Johnstown a chance to win every night. Although he was recently selected ninth overall by Bloomington in the USHL Phase II Draft, the playmaking center and Bowling Green commit could still suit up for Johnstown this season.
If he does, he could very well suit up next to his younger, but by no means little, brother. Ryan, a towering 6-foot-4 goaltender, is following the same path Shane blazed last offseason, when he earned a tender and a training camp invitation following a stand-out showing at the Tomahawks' Michigan try-out camp.
"In training camp, Shane demonstrated an elite skill level to go along with a work ethic second to none," Johnstown head coach Mike Letizia recalled. "He spends extra time before and after practice working on his skills. he is one of the hardest working guys of the ice."
Now, Ryan will need that same type of drive and work ethic to continue following in his brother's footsteps.
"Obviously we look for talented players who can be successful, but we also search for high-character individuals," Letizia said. "We found that with Shane, and I believe Ryan is cut in the same mold."
Ryan comes to Johnstown from the Victory Honda U16 program. He earned a 12-6-0 record and a 1.62 goals against average in 18 games played for Victory Honda.
Letizia stressed that Ryan will have to earn his spot on the team, but his potential is "unlimited."
"He possesses great athleticism and technique to go along with his size," Letizia said. "With the correct development and maturity throughout the season I think he will only continue to get better."
The possibility of Ryan and Shane playing on the same team is exciting for the both of them as well as Letizia.
"Obviously, the possibility of them playing on the same team is exciting for us, but probably even more so for their parents," Letizia said. "A lot can happen from now until the season starts, but if everything works out and we have Shane and Ryan with us, I think we'll be very happy."
The Tomahawks Main Camp comes to Planet Ice in Richland Township in late July, and the regular season home opener is set for Saturday, Oct. 25. Season ticket packages for the 2014-15 season are now on sale at the team office, with flex packages starting at less than $100. Call 814-536-4625 for additional information.