2017 Main Camp is underway from Ebensburg’s North Central Recreation Center.
The games feature a healthy mix of returning Tomahawks, draft picks, tenders and free agents. All are competing for a chance to play in front of the best fans in the North American Hockey League!
Please stay tuned for a full recap and some feature stories tonight after camp has concluded for today.
DAY TWO RECAP
by Rachel Williams
Tomahawks Main Camp is finally underway! Players from all over have come to Johnstown with the hopes of becoming a member of the Tomahawks family. The level of talent is staggering. Everyone will need to do their best on and off the ice in order to stand out.
Camp started yesterday morning at 11 with play registration. All of the players showed up to the War Memorial to get checked in and receive their jerseys before the practice games started later in the afternoon.
The players were divided into eight different teams upon arrival; red, black, royal blue, sky blue, navy, gold, gray, and white. Tomahawks players from last year and new players were split among the teams. Over the next few days, the teams will play practice games to show the coaches their skills. Then on Saturday, the final selections will be made. These players will then get to play in the traditional All Star games that are held on Sunday!
Shortly after registration, a camp meeting was held before everyone made their way to North Central Recreation Center in Ebensburg. Then, around 2, the first game took place. During the first day, only four games were played. Players got a chance to familiarize themselves with the boys they would be on a team with for the rest of camp. Along with that, they got a chance to show off their skills in hopes of making an impression on Coach Mike or Coach Nick that will hopefully last for the rest of the weekend.
All four of the games that took place on the first day of camp were full of excitement. The level of talent that showed up for camp this year is amazing, and that is clear to see just from watching one of the games.
Luckily, there were no serious injuries during the first day of camp. However, returning Tomahawks player Logan Stork did end up chipping one of his front teeth, which just does to show how serious these players take the opportunity to earn a spot on the Johnstown Tomahawks roster.
Hopefully that’s the worst of the injuries that happens over the next few days!
Camp continues all weekend with two All Star games taking place on Sunday! One starts at 9 and the other at 11. Both games are free to attend! Don’t miss this awesome chance to see future Tomahawks play!
One-On-One with Nick Shackford
Main Camp is still underway! The staff of the Johnstown Tomahawks are busy watching the games and ensuring that the rest of camp goes off without a hitch. With so much going on, it’s hard to find time to focus on anything other than the game. Coaches Mike and Nick are laser focused on selection the best and brightest players for our Training Camp coming up in late August.
To get an insight on the process of Main Camp, I talked with Tomahawks assistant coach Nick Shackford.
Players come from all over the globd to participate in Tomahawks Main Camp. Because of that, the level of talent is outstanding. There are so many things that are taken into consideration when making a decision on who gets a spot on the team.
“When going into our Main Camp we like to keep a very open mind to the process as a whole. Some of the players we know from our scouting throughout the season or past seasons, and some are players that we may have never seen but are working towards that opportunity”, Nick says. “That being said it is a short amount of time for players to be evaluated and typically they are playing with players they do not know, never played with, or come from much different hockey backgrounds. So, I know for myself I try to look at the basics for players in their skill ability to make plays, how quickly they think the game, do they play the game with pace, and their compete level.”
“What is unique about Main Camp is that players are looking to get noticed and showcase themselves individually, but I look for players playing the game the right way and within their skill ability and qualities that make them the player they are.”
Because camp takes place over a few short days, Nick said that they look for players who are consistent in their abilities. There isn’t really any time for error.
As many people know, Main Camp consists of new and former Tomahawks players. The returning players have gone through the process of camp in the past, so they are held to a higher standard.
“We want our returning players to set the tone and culture both on and off the ice during our Main Camp. Culture is a huge part of our philosophy as a staff. We pride ourselves in having an upbeat and positive culture all the time, but at the same time holding ourselves accountable. So, to sum up – we want our returners leading and competing and showing the way for the other players to follow in the right direction,” Shackford said.
Camp ends on Sunday with the annual All Star Game. The first game starts at 9 am and the second starts at 11 am. Both games are open to the public and free to attend!
Day Three Recap
by Rachel Williams
Day three of camp is off to a great start! Today is the last day of practice games so the players have been giving it their all. The competiveness is off the charts while the boys take this last chance to stand out among the rest.
Consistency has been the key over the last few days. Players who have been able to play well and consistently have a better shot of making it on to the Tomahawks roster. This isn’t the time to make careless mistakes.
Four practice games will be played today before the final decisions are made. The players who are selected will get to play in the All Star games on Sunday.
Just from watching the games, you can see how seriously these young men are taking this chance to impress. Today’s games are some of the most competitive we have seen over the course of camp. All of the players are pushing the limits when making plays and taking every chance available to them to keep their opponents from scoring.
Everyone is giving it their all during this last chance to get noticed. The games have been a constant back and forth with neither of the teams having the puck for an extended period of time. The practice games have been extremely entertaining. It’s everything that you would want from a hockey game.
Pucks and sticks have been flying around the ice. One of the players even launched a stick over the glass and out into the crowd of parents!
There have been some hiccups today when it comes to equipment. Broken sticks and skates have been a theme of the day, but that hasn’t been enough to get anyone discouraged. Everything has been getting solved in a timely manner, and the games are even running ahead of schedule.
Remember to come to NCRC tomorrow for the TWO All Star Games! The first one starts at 9 and the second at 11.