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Tomahawks Main Camp opens Thursday; Red & Blue Exhibition game to be played Sunday

Johnstown, Pa. — Johnstown Tomahawks fans will get their first look at the 2015-16 Tomahawks roster this Sunday, July 27, as the team hosts its annual Red & Blue Game at Planet Ice in Richland Township.

The exhibition game is set for 11 a.m. and is free and open to the public.

Approximately 80 players are expected to report to the Tomahawks’ Main Camp on Thursday afternoon, including a mix of returning members of last year’s team, other NAHL veterans, tendered and drafted prospects, and free agent hopefuls. 

The players invited to Main Camp represent the top talent participating in the Tomahawks three try-out camps held near Pittsburgh, Chicago and Detroit in May and June.

Following their arrival in Johnstown on Thursday, players will be divided into four teams representing different eras in Johnstown’s rich hockey history: the Chiefs, the Jets, the Red Wings and the Bluebirds.  Each team will participate in an evening practice session beginning a schedule of three scrimmage games to be played Friday and Saturday.

The top players from this week’s Main Camp will be selected to play in Sunday’s Red & Blue Game, with the goal of earning an invitation to the Tomahawks’ official training camp, which will begin in late August.

“The Red & Blue Game has evolved into a great summertime tradition in Johnstown,” Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia.  “It is exciting for our fans to be a part of the process as we evaluate our prospects and begin to shape our roster.  For the players, it’s an incredibly important game, and the players know they’ll need to put their best talent and effort on display if they want to come back to Johnstown next month.  It all adds up to an exciting afternoon of free summer hockey.”

Returning players expected at camp include forward Andrew Romano, Alex Alger, Dalton Hunter, and Joe Delandro; defensemen Logan Hudson, Steve Quagliata and Jake Houston; and goaltenders Nick DeSimone and Jake Gwillim.  Forward Drew Doyon, acquired in a trade with Aberdeen early in the offseason, will also participate.

A handful of NAHL veterans from the disbanded Keystone Ice Miners and Michigan Warriors franchises are also expected to compete for a spot on the team.  The group includes defenseman Ryan Burr and forward Anthony Parrucci of the Warriors, as well as forwards Tommy Horn, Cameron Smith and Kelly O’Brien of the Ice Miners.  Austin Heakins, formerly of the Aberdeen Wings, will also participate in camp.

Draft picks Peter Cicmanec, Jack McDonough, Austin Alger and Ty Rickabaugh are expected at camp, along with a group of tendered prospects that includes forwards Jon Dagnal,Brock Rumbaugh, Connor Koviak, Tiernan Seningen, and Evan Nyhus, plus defensemen Adama Ostrowski, Adam Pilewicz and Kenny White.

Veterans Luke Lynch (Youngstown), Filips Buncis (Sioux City), Ryan Bednard (Youngstown), Casey Linkenheld (Cedar Rapids) and Zac Robbins (Cedar Rapids), as well as draft picks Austin Lemieux (Omaha) and Justin Cmunt (Youngstown) are attending camps with their USHL clubs and will not participate in the Tomahawks Main Camp.  However, all could still be on Johnstown’s season-opening roster.  Veteran forward Joe Drabin and tendered defenseman Aaron Murray will attend camp with the Wenatchee Wild of the BCHL and will not attend the Johnstown camp.

A total of 12 players from last season’s Tomahawks team secured NCAA commitments; including six players who will advance to NCAA D1 programs. Trevor Recktenwald (Ferris State), Alex Jaeckle (Canisius College), Tanner Barnes (Wisconsin).  Casey Linkenheld (Bowling Green) is expected to begin his NCAA D1 career in 2016, followed by Ryan Bednard (Bowling Green) in 2017. 

On the current roster, Alex Alger is committed to Miami University of Ohio.

The Tomahawks begin the regular season on the road against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on Friday, Sept. 18.  Johnstown’s home opener is Friday, Oct. 16, against the New Jersey Titans. 

Season ticket packages are now available, with prices beginning under $99 for a 14-game flex ticket package.  For information, call 814-536-4625.