For our first edition of our newest feature “Where Are They Now?” which chronicles the lives and careers of our Tomahawks alumni, we caught up with forward Luke Lynch, who spent two seasons in Johnstown from 2014-2016 and currently plays NCAA Division I hockey for the Robert Morris Colonials, who play in the hockey-only Atlantic Hockey conference.
Luke mentioned that while DI hockey is a faster-paced game than in the NAHL, the two levels play a similar style of play that enabled him to adjust quickly.
“It’s about getting plays off in less time,” Lynch said, “all the teams in NCAA are competitive with each other no matter what the conference is.”
He cites time management as being his biggest transition and credits his coaching staff for teaching him the tools that help him play as a Colonial – where he has tallied 12 goals and 9 assists in 24 games for RMU this season.
“I grew up in those two years playing there,” he says, “Coach Mike expected us to carry ourselves professionally in both hockey and in life, so that’s been a big help.”
As Robert Morris University is in nearby Moon Township, PA – less than a two-hour drive from Johnstown – he says he his former billet family, the Lees family, has made it out to some of his games and continue to provide him support.
“Holly was a phenomenal billet,” he says, “They always had food on the table for us and made sure we were taken care of. I don’t have enough things to say about them.”
Holly Lees is perhaps best known in the Johnstown hockey community for submitting the winning essay that ultimately helped the city earn the Kraft Hockeyville USA 2015 prize.
The Lees family also played host to former Tomahawks Casey Linkenheld – who currently plays DI hockey for Bowling Green State University – and Zak Galambos – who plays in the British Columbia Hockey League for the Wenatchee Wild. Lynch cites the two as his closest teammates and remains in touch with them.
When asked about what stands out in his Tomahawks career – during which he accumulated 78 points over the course of two seasons, including 56 in the 2015-16 campaign – Lynch mentioned playing in games on New Year’s Eve and the fans that packed the house accordingly.
“The fans definitely have a lot of passion for the sport there,” he says, “It was always special to play in front of that big of a crowd. We just got to live it up.”