June 27, 2013

Matt Williams to Play College Hockey in 2013-2014

We've been working hard to find out what former Tomahawks' players will playing next season. More importantly we've been trying to keep tabs on players that aged out of the junior hockey program. One of those players that we reported on in an earlier blog post was Tomahawks' forward, Mike Sandor.

This time we're able to report about another Tomahawks' player, Matt Williams. Williams will play next season for Lake Forest Foresters, which is a D3 program that plays in the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association. The Foresters last season had a record of 10-12-5.

Williams spent most of his junior hockey career playing in the NAHL. In 2011-2012 he played for the Michigan Warriors, were he didn't register any points in three games. He spent the rest of the season playing for the Odessa Jackalopes, were he appeared in 43 games, scoring 14 points (3 goals, 11 assists).

During the 2012-2013 season, Williams played for two more teams in the NAHL. He started the season with the Coulee Region Chill, were he scored 18 points (8 goals, 10 assists) in 41 games. He was then traded to the Johnstown Tomahawks, were he played a total of 14 games, registering two points, both assists, and both in the same game. That game was on 3/1/2013 at Springfield, a game the Tomahawks won, 4-2.

"My time in Johnstown was the best experience I've ever had in my hockey career, I would do almost anything to be able to come back and play again" said Williams.

Williams joins, Sandor, Truehl, and Nelson, who played for the Tomahawks last season and will continue playing hockey at the college level next season. Former Tomahawks' defenseman, Ian Spencer has a college commitment but will play one last season in the NAHL, for Corpus Christi.

We here at TheTomablog wish Williams all the best and will post updates of his season, and the other college committed players as their season's progress.

June 25, 2013

The 100th Post in Tomablog History

I wasn't sure if I was going to do a post like this for our 100th blog post but decided it is a milestone for the site, so might as well.

I won't do a trip down memory lane type of thing, or try and write something sweet to bring tears to the readers eyes. All I'll do is say, thank you, to all the people who keep coming to our site to check us out.

When I started this blog I thought maybe a few people would check it out, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how many people have come to the blog. Hopefully we'll continue to keep the readers coming back with interesting stuff. That's the goal, at least.

I would like to name a few people and sites that have helped along the way so far. Hopefully we'll continue to add more great people to the list as we go on. Also these are in no special order, so if you're named last, sorry.

I hope I don't forget anyone.


Tami Knopsnyder
Eric Knopsnyder
Mike Gosnell
Rick Boyd
Jordan Watt
Cobi Smith-Mass
Colin Brennan
Mitch Hall
Collin Finkhouse
Dakota Menslage
Stephen Heisler
Ginger Pollock
Brian Krise
Randy Gilbert

Wenatchee Wild Den
Johnstown Tomahawks


Here's to a hundred more.


June 24, 2013

Former Rivals, a Hometown Kid, and NAHL Experienced Players Tryout with Tomahawks

Yesterday, the Johnstown Tomahawks held their last "open camp" of the offseason. Players who received an invite to Johnstown's main camp will now take the ice on July 25-28 at Planet Ice, to try an earn a roster spot on the team for the 2013-2014 season.

This last tryout, which took place in Pittsburgh Pa, saw many players trying to get one of those invites to main camp. On Sunday the best players of the tryout played in an All-Star game, team red vs team blue.

Today we share a few of those names with you. Remember this don't mean these players will be on the team this season, or that they will even get an invite to main camp, these are just players that tried out this weekend. We are only showing the top names that we found to have been at the tryout this weekend.

Also, two players that tried out for Johnstown this weekend came from two Tomahawks' rivals, so we'll start with them.

G- Alex Okicki- Kalamazoo Jr K-Wings

Most fans will remember Okicki as the guy Chris Truehl wanted to fight during a game between the two teams in Johnstown. But if you understand the game and want to have a good team this year, you'll know that Okicki is a solid goaltender, and we've said on this blog in the past, "We'd love to have him on our team".

F- Elliott Tisdale- Jamestown Ironmen

We don't like to brag but we've also said on this blog that Tisdale would make sense to have on the team. He's from Mars Pa and plays a lot like JB Baker. It also doesn't hurt that Tisdale played for the Ironmen last year, division champions and Robertson Cup contenders.

D- Tre Prigden- Johnstown Trojans

Yes, another Johnstown grown player. We'd love to see Prigden on the team, not only because he's from Johnstown, but he's a hard noised player. In 17 games this season for the Trojans, Prigden scored 37 points (19 goals, 18 assists). He only had 12 penalty minutes, but that's probably only because there's no fighting in high school hockey.

Here is the LMHL Championship video (Complete Game) from the 2012-2013 season, which features Tre- Prigden on defense.

F-Heinz Koster- Michigan Warriors

Koster is a local kids, native of Pittsburgh Pa. Last season he split time in the NAHL with the Aberdeen Wings and the Michigan Warriors. In case you were wondering, he didn't play any games against the Johnstown Tomahawks.

D- Cody Rodgers- Soo Eagles

Rodgers didn't get much playing time last season, but did do a lot of traveling. At the end of the season he had played for a total of 4 different teams, three of which play in the NAHL.

F-Cole Hepler- Freeport

Like a lot of the players that tried out this weekend, he's a local Pittsburgh kid that play high-level high school hockey last season. In 18 games with Freeport he scored 38 points (22 goals, 16 assists.) In the playoffs he scored 5 points in 5 games.

F- Tyler Basham- El Paso Rhinos

Basham is from the north, America's neighbor, Canada. He stands at 5'10, 170lb.

F- Cameron Smith- Washington Little Capitals (2012)

Two years ago Smith played for the Capitals scoring 67 points in 45 games (49 goals, 19 assists). Last season he played for the Potomac Patriots seeing action in 38 games. In those 38 games, Smith registered 19 points (10 goals and 9 assists).

Here's a video from Smith's Youtube page. This is a video from last season. He's still on the smaller size but plays like he's 6'4. Check it out.


The camp also saw players that were either tendered by the team or played for the team last year. They were:

Logan Coomes
Joe Bender
Eric Tien
Corey Schafer
Tristan Ramage
Cody Bentzel
Trevor Recktenwald
Jesse Kessler

Well, we're now that much closer to main camp and before you know it it'll be time to start the 2013-2014 season.


June 23, 2013

Tomahawks Year Book On Sale

Our friend, and a person who contributes to the site, has a Tomahawks' book now on sale. Tami Knopsnyder (with help from Eric Knopsnyder) lets us use her game day pictures, has put together a Tomahawks Year Book from the 2012-2013 season.

Here's the info from Tami:

The Johnstown Tomahawks historic 2012-13 season was a success both on and off the ice. The boys in blue made a lasting impact on all who watched them become a team and also well respected members of the community. Now is your chance to own a look at the inaugural season yearbook. Pre order sales deadline is July 5th. Please contact Tami (torainy@yahoo.com) if you would like a copy. $30 plus $6.50 shipping. Thanks everyone for being so supportive during the making of this book. It was 8 months in the making but I think it turned out pretty well.

Click here to view this photo book larger
Shutterfly allows you to customize your photo book just the way you want.


If you're a Tomahawks fan, or just a hockey fan in general, I say this is a must have. You never know, somebody in that book might play in the NHL someday.

June 20, 2013

Weekend Fun (Updated)

This weekend is the last Tomahawks' open tryout before their main camp, which takes place at the end of July. This last open camp will be close to home, taking place at Bladerunners-Warrendale arena in Warrendale, PA, which is a suburb of Pittsburgh Pa.

Also this weekend, here in Johnstown, is Thunder in the Valley. The Johnstown Tomahawks staff will be on hand with Chopper, as part of their "Summer Tour". Here's a list from their official website on all the events the team will be attending this summer in the community.

June 20: Light the Night Walk Mixer at War Memorial
June 20: Thunder in the Valley Bike Parade 9:30 p.m. at Quaker Steak & Lube
June 21-23: Pittsburgh, PA Camp Tryouts
June 22: Thunder in the Valley Parade at noon
June 28-July 4: Fourth of July Freedom Week Celebration at the Galleria Mall
July 17: Ferndale Jubilee Parade at 6 p.m.
July 19-21: Somerfest and Parade
July 25-27: Main Camp at Planet Ice
July 29-August 2: Hockey School at Planet Ice
July 30: Camp Harmony Sports Camp
August 5: 2nd Annual Johnstown Tomahawks Golf Outing
August 16-17: Richland Community Days and Parade
August 17: Nanty Glo 100 Year Fire Co. Celebration & Parade
August 31: Log House Arts Festival
August 31-September 2: Forest Hills Festival
September 1: Ethnic Fest

We were planning to attend the tryout this weekend, but the plans fell through. If you are attending the camp we'd love to get your input on what players were there, how the team looked, etc. You can e-mail us at thetomablog@gmail.com

If you 're thinking about heading up to camp, which runs from June 21-23, here are the directions (starting from the Cambria County War Memorial Arena).

Here is the ice schedule via Tomahawks' press release.

Players will be on the ice during the following times:
Friday, June 21
6-7:15 p.m.
 7:30-8:45 p.m.
 9-10:15 p.m.
Saturday, June 22
8-9 a.m. (Goalies only)
9:15-10:30 a.m.
10:45-12 p.m.
12:15-1:30 p.m.
5-6:15 p.m.
 6:30-7:45 p.m.
 8-9:15 p.m.
Sunday, June 23
10-11:50 a.m. (All-Star Game)

June 17, 2013

Cobi Smith-Mass Hopes to Continue Hockey Career

A major goal for any player in the NAHL is to earn the chance to play college hockey at the highest level, in hopes that it'll lead to a career in the pro game. Not every player though, will get a scholarship.

During the 2012-2013 NAHL season, two Tomahawks' player earned a chance to continue playing college hockey. Goaltender, Chris Truehl signed to play for Air Force and defenseman Casey Nelson signed on to play for Minnesota State University - Mankato. Both hockey programs are D1.

We reported last month that Mike Sandor would also continue playing hockey in Canada for Simon Fraser University. You can check out that article here.

Even if you don't have a college commitment, that doesn't mean you can't play college hockey. Cobi Smith-Mass is just one of those players without a college commitment, but with the college hockey dream.

At the end of the season we talked to Cobi about what his plans are for next season. "Next year I will be looking for a walk on spot at the University of Alaska Anchorage" Smith-Mass said.

The Anchorage, Alaska native played in 39 regular season games last season for the Tomahawks, scoring six points (5 goals, 1 assist). He was one of several players to play for the Alaska Avalanche before moving to Johnstown. Smith-Mass also spent a season playing in the BCHL for the Surrey Eagles, back in 2010-2011.

For many players, this will be the way they find a way to continue going after their hockey dreams, at the D1 to D3 college level.

Smith-Mass is yet another former Johnstown Tomahawks' player that we will be watching closely and hope all the best for him.

June 16, 2013

Cody Boyd Heads to BCHL

Picture from Boyd's Facebook Page

Johnstown's hometown kid, and one of the Tomahawks tough guys will play this upcoming season in the BCHL for the Coquitlam Express.

Last season for the Tomahawks. Boyd saw action in 55 games and scored 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists), while registering 143 penalty minutes.

Before coming home to Johnstown last season, Boyd played for the Bismarck Bobcats of the NAHL in 2011-2012. He appeared in 22 games, scoring three assists and had 16 penalty minutes.

Boyd stands at 6'3, 185lb.

There have been at least 131 players to come out of the BCHL and make it to the NHL, with one of the newest being Beau Bennett of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Johnstown fans will miss what Boyd brings to the ice but we wish him all the luck in the BCHL and we'll be watching closely as he continues his hockey journey.

June 15, 2013

Roster Update, Year in Reviews, Jason Spence, and More

Every once in a while we like to write a blog that's all about links. We do this incase you've missed something we've posted on here, on Juniorhockey.com, or if there's something on the internet we found that's interesting. We also do it when things are slow, news wise.

We are in the dog days of summer, so I guess this is a good time to share some links. First here's what's been going on at TheTomablog.


Johnstown Tomahawks Roster (as of 6-11-2013)- This is exactly what you think, we put together a spreadsheet of the current Tomahawks' roster. We'll be updating it as the season get's closer.

New, Relocated, and Ceased Teams- We take an in-depth look at all the new, relocated, and teams that folded for the upcoming 2013-2014 NAHL season.

Mike Gosnell

Year in Review- Janesville Jets- Gosnell takes a look back at the 2012-2013 Jets' team.

June 11, 2013

Johnstown Tomahawks Roster as of Today

This isn't a hard set roster, but gathering all the press releases and other information our there this is what the Tomahawks' roster currently looks like for the 2013-2014 season. Remember that NAHL rosters have to be cut down to 25 players by September 1st, and then it goes down to the final 20 a little after that.


Roster Players as of 6/11/2013     
NamePositionHeightWeightLast TeamLeague
Colin BrennanG6'1185JohnstownNAHL
Cody BentzelD6'3215JohnstownNAHL
Dakoda MenslageD6'3205JohnstownNAHL
Mitch HallD5'10175JohnstownNAHL
Jaycob McCombsF5'9175JohnstownNAHL
Andrew McDonaldF5'9165JohnstownNAHL
Zach WallaceF5'9175JohnstownNAHL
Jordan WattF5'10175JohnstownNAHL
Corey SchaferF5'10185JohnstownNAHL
Jesse KesslerD5'10190JohnstownNAHL
Brandon ReinholzF6'1185JohnstownNAHL
Jake FairchildD6'2196JohnstownNAHL
Trevor HeuserD5'10175Corpus ChristiNAHL
Casey LinkenheldF5'11170TeamIllinois U18HPHL
Brett YoungG6'3180Little CaesarsNAPHL
Forest DonovanF5'11183Belle TireEHL
Tristan RamageD6'2190Pittsburgh Viper StarsNAPHL
Brady BenderD5'10170Colorado RampageEHL
Shane BednardF5'11165Little CaesarsNAPHL
Alex JaeckleD6'2190Little CaesarsNAPHL
Logan CoomesF5'9155Frederick FreezeESHL
Colin DeAugustineG5'9160Pittsburgh Penguins EliteEHL
Collin FinkhouseF6'0152West Michigan Houds 18UNAPHL
Matt MeierF6'0170Colorado Thunderbirds U18EHL
Aaron BlandF5'10170Phoenix Jr CoyotesEHL
Eric TienF5'10165Richmond GeneralsMetJHL
Trevor RecktenwaldF6'2205Pittsburgh Viper StarsEHL
Shane CuckovichD6'2195Honeybaked U18HPHL
Jacob SoykaF5'11167n/an/a
Player Rights for NAHL as of 6/11/2013     
NamePositionHeightWeightLast TeamLeague
Cody BoydF6'3185JohnstownNAHL
JB BakerF5'11170JohnstownNAHL
Cody GyllingF5'9175JohnstownNAHL
Main Camp Invites (these are the only players that we can conform so far, however, are at least 19 more.)     
NamePositionHeightWeightLast TeamLeague    
Tommy HallF5'6160St. Cloud Cathedral High Schooln/aMitch Hall's younger brother   
Philip KuznetsovG6'6215West Michigan Hounds U18NAPHL    
Logan HudsonD6'1220West Michigan Hounds U18NAPHL    
Logan Dejong-SeniffD6'1165West Michigan Hounds U18NAPHL    

June 10, 2013

New, Relocated, and Ceased Teams for the NAHL 2013-2014 Season

Updated: This post was slightly edited, on 8/27/2013, to update some of the information.

The NAHL season will be getting underway in a couple of weeks. Since the puck last dropped, the league has seen a few teams close up shop, a few come into the league, and a couple that moved to new cities.

If you're a die hard fan then you probably already know all about this, but incase you're not, this post is for you.

First, the teams that are no longer in the league.

Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings:


The K-Wings had a short run in the NAHL, only lasting two seasons. Kalamazoo was able to make it into the post-season both years and had an overall record of 72-38-0-4-6, under the coaching of Mark Fakler. The team was good on the ice but couldn't get the fans to come to their games.

One of the main reasons for this was because of the Kalamazoo Wings that play in the ECHL. The city wasn't big enough for two teams, and fans decided that they would support the pro-minor team, instead of the junior team. During Kalamazoo's first season, the team only averaged 235 fans per game. It got a little better last season, 327 per game, but nowhere close to being able to support a team financially.

The team folded at the end of this past season's short playoff run, getting swept by the Jamestown Ironmen in three games. Oddly enough, the team that knocked the K-Wings out of the playoffs, is the second team in the North Division not playing next season in the NAHL.

Note: Alex Okicki, who is currently with the Johnstown Tomahawks, spent the last two season's with the Jr. K-Wings.

Jamestown Ironmen:

Just like the K-Wings, the Ironmen only lasted in the NAHL for two seasons. In their first season the Ironmen did not qualify for the playoffs, but last season they made it the whole way to the Robertson Cup Tournament. In their two seasons they had an overall record of 56-55-0-3-6.

Jamestown was the Tomahawks' closes rival, being only about a three an a half hour drive north of Johnstown. Jamestown is a little bigger than Johnstown and had the possibility of having a good brand of hockey with great fans, but because of poor ownership, this was never realized.

During the past season, the ownership ran out of money and the players found themselves having to pay for meals on the road, equipment replacements, and so on, things that are supposed to be covered by the team. This was the first sign that the team would not be back fro the 2013-2014 season.

June 6, 2013

Tomahawks' Ready for Second Tryout

The Tomahawks are holding their second tryout this off season in preparation for the 2013-2014 season. This time, the Johnstown coaches and staff will be in Prior Lake, MN at the Dakotah Ice Center.

Last month's "pre draft" camp was a huge success and the team found several players that they have invited to main camp, that's scheduled for the end of July. The team also signed two players during that camp held in Michigan, Alex Jaeckle and Shane Bednard.

The talent level was there in Michigan and you know the talent is only going to be better in Minnesota this weekend. Camp will run Friday thru Sunday.

The Tomahawks will then hit the ice one more time this month, June 21-23, in Pittsburgh, Pa for their last open tryout of the off season.

Then main camp will take place at the end of July, at Planet Ice, which is open to the public.

Before you know it the puck will be dropping again.

We know we can't wait.

June 3, 2013

NAHL 2013 Draft Day (Live Blog)

NAHL Draft Day 2013
(by Jon Kohan (JK) and Mike Gosnell (MG))

Well that's it for the 2013 draft. Thank you to everyone that came to our site today.

Tomorrow (or in a few days) we'll have our Draft Wrap-up with hopefully some quotes from Tomahawks GM Rick Boyd.

We set record numbers today for Blog Visits, and Article Visits, so thank you very much.

This was our first ever live blog and I'd say it went great and was a lot of fun. Hopefully we can do more of them in the future.

Till Next time, Let's Go 'Hawks!

5:47PM Soo-

5:45PM Soo- Anthony Saleh played for the Soo Eagles last season. He had no points in five game.

5:40PM Soo- Michael Caruso from Soo Thunderbirds NOJHL. Another defenseman.

5:35: Soo- Brian McFarlane from the North Iowa Bulls NA3HL. He is a defenseman.

5:27PM Soo-  Brady Hall from the Boston Advantage U18.

5:24PM Springfield- Thomas Kolaz 5'8" 160 lbs 1996 Forward from St. Louis 18U Blues.

5:17PM Soo-  Jimmy Slivka, a 17 year old d-man from the Chicago Fury. Slivka scored 10 points.

5:15PM Springfield-  Keith Anderson, 1997 born no stats available

5:12PM Johnstown Tomahawks- Brady Bender from the Colorado Rampage. He's a D-Man.  He scored 3 goals and 6 assists

This is the Tomahawks last pick of the day.

5:03PM Soo- Brien Caseria a defenseman from RM Roughriders 18U

4:59PM Johnstown Tomahawks- Tristan Ramage, D-man from the Pittsburgh Viper Stars from from Evan City, PA scored 4 goals and 7 assists in 17 games

June 1, 2013

We Unveil Our First Ever Tomablog Logos

Every business has a logo.

Every product has a logo.

Some people even have a logo, aka Prince.

When we started this blog we knew there would be a time when we needed a logo of our own. One of the reasons was to build our name. We want to be the go to place for fans of the Johnstown Tomahawks, but also the go to place for fans of hockey in general. We think we've done a pretty good job so far, but there's still room to improve.

We can't really just use the Tomahawks' logo as our own because, well, it's not ours. Plus, I think it would confused people, which site is which. Don't think that's an issue, well trust us, for some people it is.

How big can we make this blog? Who knows. A blog we check out a lot is Thepensblog.com and sure, they've got a bigger market, but we'd like to be able to do what they do someday. To get to that point and beyond, we need our own identity, while at the same time be recognizable to a first time reader, that the blog is dedicated to the Johnstown Tomahawks' and junior hockey.

So all of our logos will incorporate three main Tomahawks' colors, Red, White, and Blue.