On May 31-June 2 2019, The Johnstown Tomahawks will be going out to Las Vegas for the third recruitment camp of the year. The team has already held try-out camps in Pittsburgh and in Michigan, and now they are headed out west in hopes of finding some additional fresh talent to add to their roster. The organization has teamed up with three other NAHL teams – the Austin Bruins, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, and the Janesville Jets – who will also be in Vegas for the showcase. The camp is to be held in City National Arena, the practice arena of the Vegas Golden Knights.
The NAHL Pre-draft Showcase is an excellent opportunity for players to showcase their talents to NAHL teams and NCAA Division I colleges, both of whom will be present. The players will participate in practices and scrimmages during the camp. On the final day of each camp, special scrimmage games will be held for select players in order to help the staff complete their evaluations. Athletes who show potential will be invited back to Johnstown for the main camp, held July 11-14.
For the first time ever, the camp will be held in Las Vegas. Vegas is known to be a beautiful city, and as the Entertainment Capital of the World. But why was this city chosen as the prime location for a recruitment camp? When asked this question, head coach Mike Letizia said, “We wanted to keep an open mind to the ever-growing geographical outreach for prospects.”
Hockey is booming in Vegas. The West has recently become a “hockey hotbed” for more reasons than one. First of all, the placement of the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 marks the first major league sports team based in the city. And to say that the team has done well would be an understatement. The Knights had an amazing first season, making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. This phenomenal success story has generated a lot of buzz about the team and the city itself, making it a great place for a hockey camp.
Another compelling reason to pick Vegas, particularly for the Tomahawks, is that it is near where former team captain Filips Buncis plays and where Carson Briere will play at Arizona State.
What cities and countries are players coming from?
Players are coming from all over the US, Canada, and Europe to participate. These players have diverse levels of experience and are eager to show their skill to the staff in hopes of improving even more later on as a member of the team. Some players have junior experience,
and there are also players with experience in tier 1 and tier 2 youth hockey, as well as high school/prep school players.
What level of talent should be expected?
Players come from varying age groups and playing backgrounds. Older players are able to be identified by teams and possibly recruited if the team feels they are a good fit, and younger players that show remarkable potential can start a recruitment relationship with a team so that they can eventually be added to the team’s roster once they reach the appropriate age.
Overall, at these camps, there is always an aspect of uncertainty as to the different players and talent levels that will be represented. However, every year many talented players attend these camps, and each camp contains pleasant surprises for the coaches and colleges.