Johnstown Tomahawks forward Shane Bednard was selected ninth overall by the Bloomington Thunder in the 2014 United States Hockey League's Phase II Draft Tuesday afternoon.
Bednard was the first of four players with Tomahawks ties to be selected in the draft, including forward Tommy Hall and two players tendered for next season.
“We are very proud of what Shane accomplished throughout this past season, and being drafted this high comes as no surprise given the type of player and person he is,” Tomahawks assistant coach Mike Letizia said. “When I first recruited Shane last spring, he was honest about his commitment to the game and his goals as a hockey player. He lived up to his end of the bargain, and we could not be more proud of him.”
Bednard finished the 2013-14 regular season tied for 11th in the NAHL in scoring, with 19 goals and 32 assists in 60 games for a total of 51 points. He was third on the team in goals and second in assists. He was also third on the team in plus-minus, with a rating of +12.
The USHL – a Tier I Junior A league – currently has 239 alumni in the NHL. The league's draft process began Monday evening with Phase I, which consists of eight rounds solely for players with 1998 birth years. Phase II, held Tuesday, secures the USHL rights for older players.
Bednard, who committed earlier this year to play NCAA D-I hockey at Bowling Green State University starting in 2015-16 – was the second NAHL player selected in the draft, going one spot after the Madison Capitols selected Wichita Falls defenseman Matt Koch.
“It's very exciting to get drafted by Bloomington,” Bednard said, adding that the selection does not necessarily mean the end of his Tomahawks career.
“Nothing is set in stone yet for next season. The USHL is great for development, but Johnstown is a great spot, too. As of now, I haven't made either team, and that's something I need to do before I could even begin to decide where I'll play.”
Johnstown forward Tommy Hall was also selected by the Sioux City Musketeers at no. 357 overall in Round 22 of the draft. Hall added five assists and 58 penalty minutes in 29 games played this season.
Two players tendered to play with the Tomahawks next season, Defenseman Steven Quagliata and forward Zach Zech, were also chosen in Phase II of the draft.
Quagliata, of Bartlett, Ill., was chosen by Bloomington in Round 12 at spot 192 overall. He scored 6 goals and 4 assists for the Chicago Fury Midget-Major team last year.
Zech was selected in the 15th round at pick no. 238 overall by the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The South Lyon, Mich., native scored 13 goals and 12 assists in 31 games for Victory Honda last year.
Letizia noted that selection in the Phase II draft does not guarantee that a player will play in the USHL and not with Johnstown next season. He cited forward Joe Drabin as one such player who was drafted by a USHL team but played the majority of the season with Johnstown.
“Being drafted is a nice honor for each of these players,” he said. “However, many of them could still be in the line-up for the Tomahawks when we take the ice next season.”