Some tough decisions will be made at Planet Ice this weekend, as Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia will trim the training camp roster in half in anticipation of Sunday’s Red and Blue game.
The 80 players in town for this week’s camp know exactly what is on the line as they enter Saturday’s final round of scrimmages before the initial round of cuts.
“Sunday is do or die time,” tendered prospect Andrew Romano said. “That’s if you are lucky enough to make it to Sunday.”
But luck has very little to do with it. Those who make it to Sunday – and beyond – will do so based on their talent, their work ethic, and their attitude.
“It’s all about improvement,” returning forward Garrison Sanipass said. “There’s so much talent here, so whether you make it has to do with how you carry yourself. This year is our year, and you need to have a family. That starts here.”
20-year-old forward Cam Bleck, acquired from Coulee Region in April, was one of those taking advantage of camp both on and off the ice. He scored a hat trick in a Friday afternoon exhibition game, and is quickly integrating himself into the Tomahawks locker room.
“It’s been a great transition. I think I’ve been playing well, but I can still pick it up in the last two days of camp.”
Defenseman Shane Cuckovich said he likes what he has seen from the players in camp so far. “I think the competition is better than last year. Everyone here is playing at a high level, right from the start. The skill level is great, and everyone is working very hard.”
With two rounds of roster cuts looming soon, players known they have limited chances to make a final impression.
“It’s a real test,” Romano said. “Everyone is battling for a spot on this team and leaving it all out there just to make it to Sunday.”
Those who advance to Sunday will play in the annual Red and Blue game, an all-star game of camp standouts fighting to be among the roughly 30 players the team carries forward into the pre-season.
The Red and Blue game is free and open to the public, with the starting face-off scheduled for 11 a.m. at Planet Ice.
Sanipass said he’s looking forward to seeing the Johnstown fans for the first time since April.
“I love our fans. They’re die-hards. If you see me on Sunday, come give me a hug.”
For more, check out our ongoing camp coverage.