|Via the Tribune Democrat|
"The Staff on the Ice" is an eight part series about the people in the Tomahawks' front office and the coaches that at one point or another played Pro, College, and/or Junior hockey. Some of the people you'll know all about, like Jason Spence, but there might be one or two that you didn't know played hockey themselves.
Part 1: Whitney Pappas
Part 3: Mike Letizia
Welcome to part two which will focus on the junior playing career of current Johnstown Tomhawks' equipment manager, Ian O'Brien. O'Brien is no stranger to the Cambria County War Memorial arena. This is where he played his high school hockey while at Westmont and where his father, Toby O'Brien, was the Johnstown Chiefs general manager, he also coached the team for three years.
The first season where stats are available came in his freshmen year of high school where, O'Brien, played in 18 games for the Hi1ltopers. In his freshman campaign he posted a record of 7-10-1 with a GAA of 3.26 and a save percentage of .910.
At the end of his first season he was drafted in the OHL Priority Selection draft (basically the same type of draft the NAHL does before their season for new players). O'Brien was selected 276th overall. Selected in the same draft for the same team that year was T.J. Brodie who currently plays for the Calgary Flames in the NHL. Back in 2006 Matt Jordan of the Tribune Democrat (once Johnstown Chiefs' play by play guy) had a story about O'Brien being drafted. You can read it here.
In his sophomore year O'Brien played once again for Westmont, this time seeing action in 16 games. In the 16 games he posted a record of 8-6-0 with a GAA of 2.47 and a save percentage of .904. That would be the last time he played for Westmont Hilltops, as he began to play Junior hockey.
In the 2007-2008 season he played in the USHL (level above NAHL) for the Tri-City Storm. O'Brien saw action in six games accumulating a record of 1-3-0 a GAA of 5.53 and a save percentage of .810. It wasn't a good season for O'Brien but he'd make up for it the following season.
The 2008-2009 season came and O'Brien found himself playing in the OJHL for the Oakville Blades. In 19 games between the pipes his record was 16-2-0 with a GAA of 3.22 and a save percentage of .890. He did so well that in the 2010-2011 season he was on the preseason roster for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, the highest junior league in Canada. No stats are available from that preseason and O'Brien didn't make the club when camp was over.
He spent the rest of the his last season before being ineligible to play Junior hockey any longer (due to age) in the NAHL. He played for the St. Louis Bandits in six games. His record during that time was 4-1-1 with a GAA of 2.25 and a save percentage of .899.