Johnstown, Pa. — The Johnstown Tomahawks concluded their final free agent try-out camp of the summer on Sunday, completing the first phase of the off-season leading into next month’s Main Camp in Johnstown.
The camp, held at the Leafs Ice Center in West Dundee , Ill., gave head coach Mike Letizia and general manager Rick Boyd a look at the progress made by returning veterans Steve Quagliata, Alex Alger and Logan Hudson. Also in attendance was physical winger Drew Doyon, acquired in a trade with Aberdeen last month.
“These try-out camps are an important step towards determining our roster for the 2015-16 season,” Letizia said. “I’m pleased to see that our veteran players have been working hard and improving since our season ended, and I think we’ll have some strong new talent coming into our organization as a result of these camps.”
Letizia said Hudson, who was named team captain last week, demonstrates precisely how the try-out camps offer tremendous opportunity for players hoping to work their way onto an NAHL roster. “Logan came onto our radar during one of these camps in 2013,” Letizia said. “He wasn’t quite ready for our team at the start of that year, but he kept working and we stayed in touch as he progressed. Midway through the season, he was ready to join our team, and he’s been a great example of leadership and perseverance ever since.”
Doyon, entering his third and final NAHL season but his first with the Tomahawks, brought the style the staff was hoping to see from the winger. "Drew has a presence out there that commands respect,” Letizia said. “He hits like a truck and goes hard to the net whenever he gets the chance.”
Newcomers at the camp included recent draft pick Austin Alger, the younger brother of Alex Alger. The younger Alger showed why the forward is also a top prospect of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers.
“Watching Austin and Alex on the same line was pretty special,” Boyd said. “We would certainly like to see that happen in Johnstown this year, but after watching Austin this week, I think Austin has a great chance to make Omaha’s team.”
The Alger brothers combined for several goals in their four scrimmages, leading the blue squad to an undefeated weekend.
Players that made an impression throughout all three try-out camps – which also included sessions near Pittsburgh and Detroit – will join the other new recruits, tenders, draft picks and veterans when main camp opens at Planet Ice in Richland Township July 22.
The Tomahawks expect to invite approximately 80 players to Johnstown for the Main Camp, which will be used to select the final group of players who will return to Johnstown in August to compete for a spot on the opening 2015-16 Tomahawks roster. The camp culminates with the annual Red & Blue exhibition game, which will be free and open to the public on Sunday, July 26.
Returning veterans at the camp will include forwards Alex Alger, Joe Drabin, Andrew Romano, Joe Delandro, Zac Robbins and Dalton Hunter; defensemen Jake Houston, Logan Hudson and Steve Quagliata; and goaltenders Nick DeSimone and Jake Gwillim. The availability of forwards Casey Linkenheld, Filips Buncis and Luke Lynch is yet to be determined.
Romano, who suffered a broken jaw while training, is hopeful to make a full recovery in time for camp.
Among the anticipated newcomers expected at camp are draft picks Jack McDonough, Peter Cicmanek, Andrei Tikhimorov and Ty Rickabaugh, as well as tenders Brock Rumbaugh, Tiernan Seningen, Adam Pilewicz, Jon Dagnal, Aaron Murray and Adam Ostrowski. Both Murray and Ostrowski saw limited action with the Tomahawks last year as affiliate players. Local players Jordan Beistel and Tyler Hudak are also expected to participate in Main Camp.
Season tickets for the Tomahawks 2015-16 season are currently on sale, with packages starting at less than $99. For information or to reserve your tickets, call 814-536-4625 or go to the “Tickets” menu at JohnstownTomahawks.com.