Among the 80 Tomahawks hopefuls in Johnstown this week are a pair of local players working to earn a spot on the roster – both for Sunday’s “Red & Blue” camp all-star game and beyond.
Ebensburg native Connor Eckenrod and Richland’s Tyler Hudak competed in Friday’s first round of camp scrimmages, and both had high hopes entering the final stages of camp.
Hudak, a defenseman, spent the opening two games seeing solid minutes while paired with returning vet Logan Hudson on Team Gray. The 17-year-old said he’s also looked for advice from Gray teammates Tommy Hall and Tanner Barnes.
“I have learned a lot from those guys. They’ve got a lot of character, and they’re fun to be around,” said Hudak, who played last year Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh. “This has been a lot of fast-paced hockey, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Eckenrod, 19, has played in Washington, Conn., for Gunnery Prep since he was 16. He said a return to his hometown and a spot on the Tomahawks roster would be a dream come true.
“It would mean the world (to make the team),” Eckenrod said. “Growing up, I always wanted to see myself playing at the War Memorial in front of a big crowd of people.”
Following the final round of scrimmages on July 26, the top 40 players in camp will advance to the Red and Blue game, which will be played at Planet Ice at 11 a.m. Sunday. The game is free and open to the public.
The game serves as a final chance for players to make an impression and earn their place as one of the approximately 30 players the team will carry moving forward into the pre-season.
For more, check out our ongoing camp coverage.