Training Camp Spotlight: Starting Point

Aug 29, 2017

For the Johnstown Tomahawks:

Today​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​day​ ​of​ ​Tomahawks​ ​training​ ​camp.​ ​Close​ ​to​ ​thirty​ ​players​ ​were​ ​at​ ​practice, which​ ​took​ ​place​ ​at​ ​Northern​ ​Central​ ​Recreational​ ​Center.

Returning​ ​Tomahawks’​ ​players,​ ​Chris​ ​Trouba​ ​and​ ​Logan​ ​Stork,​ ​led​ ​the​ ​team​ ​in​ ​pre-practice stretching,​ ​which​ ​included​ ​all​ ​the​ ​new​ ​players​ ​individually​ ​standing​ ​among​ ​their​ ​teammates​ ​and introducing​ ​themselves.​ ​The​ ​last​ ​question​ ​that​ ​was​ ​asked​ ​of​ ​each​ ​player​ ​was,​ ​“What​ ​team​ ​do you​ ​play​ ​for?”,​ to ​which​ ​each​ ​new​ ​player​ ​then​ ​screamed​ ​out,​ ​“The​ ​Tomahawks.” ​ ​Each​ ​time,​ ​this was​ ​met​ ​with​ ​thunderous​ ​cheering​ ​from​ ​the​ ​rest​ ​of​ ​the​ ​team.

While​ ​this​ ​was​ ​playful​ ​and​ ​helped​ ​calm​ ​the​ ​nerves​ ​of​ ​any​ ​player​ ​that​ ​might​ ​have​ ​been​ ​feeling​ ​a little​ ​nervous,​ ​once​ ​Mike​ ​Letizia​ ​and​ ​Nick​ ​Shackford​ ​hit​ ​the​ ​ice,​ ​the​ ​team​ ​was​ ​ready​ ​to​ ​get​ ​down to​ ​business.

“I​ ​thought​ ​the​ ​compete​ ​level​ ​was​ ​pretty​ ​good.​ ​You​ ​could​ ​see​ ​the​ ​hunger​ ​in​ ​a​ ​lot​ ​of​ ​guys​ ​eyes.​ ​I thought​ ​our​ ​veteran​ ​guys​ ​came​ ​to​ ​work,​ ​which​ ​was​ ​nice​ ​to​ ​see,” ​said​ ​head​ ​coach​ ​Mike​ ​Letizia. During​ ​the​ ​hour​ ​and​ ​forty​ ​five​ ​minute​ ​practice,​ ​the​ ​players​ ​did​ ​around​ ​twenty​ ​drills.​

​These ranged​ ​from​ ​your​ ​standard​ ​passing​ ​and​ ​shooting,​ ​to​ ​more​ ​game​ ​real​ ​scenarios.​ ​The​ ​players worked​ ​tirelessly​ ​on​ ​board​ ​battle’s,​ ​front​ ​net​ ​battles,​ ​and​ ​zone​ ​play.

The​ ​Tomahawks​ ​will​ ​have​ ​two​ ​weeks​ ​of​ ​camp​ ​before​ ​starting​ ​the​ ​regular​ ​season​ ​vs​ ​the Northeast​ ​Generals,​ ​on​ ​September​ ​13.

“Today​ ​was​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​setting​ ​a​ ​tone​ ​for​ ​just​ ​competing,​ ​habits​ ​and​ ​some​ ​conditioning.​ ​You​ ​learn right​ ​away​ ​who’s​ ​a​ ​pretender​ ​and​ ​who​ ​isn’t.​ ​And​ ​there​ ​really​ ​weren’t​ ​any​ ​pretenders,”​ ​said Letizia.

This​ ​year’s​ ​Tomahawks’​ ​team​ ​only​ ​sees​ ​a​ ​handful​ ​of​ ​returning​ ​players​ ​from​ ​last​ ​season.​ ​At practice​ ​today​ ​was,​ ​Roman​ ​Kraemer,​ ​Logan​ ​Stork,​ ​Joseph​ ​Kile,​ ​Alex​ ​Singley,​ ​Cade​ ​Groton, Mitchell​ ​Hale,​ ​Chris​ ​Trouba,​ ​Andy​ ​Iehle,​ ​and​ ​goalie​ ​Vinnie​ ​Purpura.

One​ ​veteran​ ​player​ ​not​ ​at​ ​the​ ​first​ ​day​ ​of​ ​training​ ​camp,​ ​but​ ​should​ ​be​ ​arriving​ ​in​ ​Johnstown before​ ​the​ ​start​ ​of​ ​the​ ​season​ ​is​ ​forward,​ ​Samuel​ ​Solensky.​ ​Solensky​ ​played​ ​31​ ​games​ ​for​ ​the Tomahawks,​ ​scoring​ ​23​ ​points​ ​before​ ​being​ ​called​ ​up​ ​to​ ​the​ ​USHL’s​ ​Youngstown​ ​Phantoms.

Some​ ​new​ ​faces​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Tomahawks​ ​are​ ​forward​ ​Joseph​ ​Baez​ ​and​ ​Chase​ ​Davidson.

Baez,​ ​already​ ​has​ ​a​ ​college​ ​commitment​ ​to​ ​the​ ​University​ ​of​ ​Alabama-Huntsville.​ ​Last​ ​season he​ ​played​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Skipjacks​ ​U16​ ​club​ ​in​ ​the​ ​USPHL​ ​where​ ​he​ ​appeared​ ​in​ ​27​ ​games​ ​and registered​ ​51​ ​points.

Davidson,​ ​a​ ​2017​ ​Tomahawks’​ ​draft​ ​pick,​ ​is​ ​a​ ​six-foot-four​ ​​ ​defenseman​ ​who​ ​played​ ​high​ ​school hockey​ ​last​ ​season​ ​for​ ​Menomonie​ ​High​ ​where​ ​he​ ​picked​ ​up​ ​30​ ​points​ ​in​ ​24​ ​games.

In​ ​between​ ​the​ ​pipes,​ ​Vinnie​ ​Purpura​ ​was​ ​turning​ ​away​ ​pucks,​ ​left​ ​and​ ​right.​ ​He​ ​also​ ​had​ ​the perfect​ ​view​ ​to​ ​take​ ​in​ ​the​ ​first​ ​impressions​ ​of​ ​this​ ​year’s​ ​club.

Purpura​ ​appeared​ ​in​ ​21​ ​games​ ​for​ ​the​ ​Tomahawks​ ​last​ ​season​ ​and​ ​had​ ​a​ ​record​ ​of​ ​12-4-2​ ​and a​ ​save percentage ​of​ ​.902.

“Today’s​ ​practice​ ​was​ ​good.​ ​I​ ​thought​ ​we​ ​looked​ ​fast.​ ​We​ ​looked​ ​like​ ​a​ ​hard​ ​working​ ​team.​ ​And I’m​ ​excited,”​ ​said​ ​Purpura.

The​ ​Tomahawks​ ​are​ ​back​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ice​ ​in​ ​Ebensburg​ ​tomorrow​ ​at​ ​11am.