Tomahawks Main Tryout Camp Update: Day 1
Last night, Tomahawks prospects took the ice for the first time in Johnstown. Click here to visit our Main Tryout Camp News Page, which includes photos from the 4 practices that took place. Make sure to check our website daily for updates throughout the remainder of the camp, which culminates in the All-Star Game slated to take place on Sunday at 12 p.m. The game is free and open to the public.
On Thursday night after 10 p.m. a calming hush hung over the rink at Planet Ice in Johnstown. Only moments earlier, the sounds of skate blades cutting into ice and hockey pucks clanging against the steel of goal posts filled the air as the Johnstown Tomahawks prospects finished their first official day at the team’s Main Tryout Camp.
Just under 80 players worked hard to impress Head Coach Jason Spence and Assistant Coach Mike Letizia during four separate practices. The evening began at 4 p.m. with player registration and a private meeting with team representatives, including both coaches and Team President Rick Bouchard, who shared their expectations for the weekend with the players.
For the duration of camp, players are divided into four teams: Green, Red, Navy, and Gray. On Thursday night, each team took the ice for a 55-minute practice. The prospects–a combination of invites and selections from the initial camps in Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and New Jersey–displayed elite skills on Day 1. After a few laps around the rink, the players found their legs and shook off any pre-practice jitters, flying around the ice through a series of drills designed to test their abilities at passing and shooting, backchecking, and follow-through on plays.
Assistant Coach Mike Letizia was happy with the effort, saying, “We are very impressed. The players are fighting for spots. They have all worked hard, and it’s going to be a tough decision.”
The teams also quickly developed camaraderie, and there was plenty of on-ice communication, with teammates shouting to each other as they made stretch passes and broke through defensemen to drive to the net. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the first night was the players’ intensity: The prospects displayed grit and physicality throughout the practice and showed tremendous speed, a skill essential to the game. After all, it was Herb Brooks who famously said, “the legs feed the wolves.”
The prospects, who traveled from all areas of the United States, Canada, and Europe to attend the four-day camp, are back on the ice today for four games that allow each team to play twice. As every day passes, the Tomahawks come one step closer to a roster that’s sure to impress for the team’s inaugural season in the NAHL.