December 13, 2017

In-Depth: Where Are They Now (2012-2013) Alumni Update

The Johnstown Tomahawks are currently participating in their sixth full season of play in the North American Hockey League.

The Tomahawks first season in the league came during the 2012-2013. A total of 37 players wore a Tomahawks jersey during that first year. Some spent the whole season, while others only for a handful of games.

Whether they are well known names to Johnstown fans, or players you don't remember, today I'll be updating you on every single player that was on the Tomahawks roster during that historical first season.

This will be a containing series of blog posts that I'll try to upload once a week for the next six weeks, giving updates on every year's roster (though the format and how I do it might change).

The list is broken down into three categories: Guys who, as of the 2017-2018, are no longer playing hockey, guys still playing in juniors/college, and players who are now playing at some level of pro hockey.

Since the team we're looking at today took the ice for Johnstown six years ago, none of these players listed are playing junior hockey as they've aged out many season ago, and most, as you'll see, are almost finished with their college careers.

If I have something wrong, please feel free to comment below or tell me on TheTomablog's social media (Facebook - Twitter - Instagram) so I can update the information.

First let's look at players that are no longer playing hockey.

Cody Gylling

Gylling was a high-scoring player when he played with the Johnstown Tomahawks. He played one full season with the Hawks, scoring 45 points (16 goals, 29 assists). He then returned the following season, but only played in five games before he was traded to the Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL.

In those five games in 2013-2014 with Johnstown he scored two points (one goal, one assist).

Gylling spent his last two seasons of junior hockey with the Amarillo Bulls where he would play a total of 107 games and score 86 points. He also became a more edgier player with the Bulls accumulating 198 penalty minutes.

Gylling then moved onto the college ranks where he spent one season playing for Arizona State University. In 25 games he scored six points (three goals, three assists).

2015-2016 would be the last time he played hockey.

Why he stopped playing hockey I could not find information on (just as was the case with everyone else).

UPDATE: Gylling now plays golf for ASU

Mitch Kontny

Mitch was the team's first ever captain.

He played one year for the Tomahawks and was a linemate with Gylling. He only missed one game all season for the Tomahawks. In those 59 games he scored 40 points (21 goals, 19 assists).

From 2013-2017 he played Division three hockey at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. In four season he appeared in 103 games scoring 48 points (16 goals, 26 assists).

He is one of several players from the Tomahawks' first year team that has finished college but hasn't turned to the pro ranks to continue his hockey career.

Kontny lists on his Facebook page that he now works as a Sports Rehab Tech.

Jeff Bergh

Bergh played one season for the Tomahawks. He was a good offensive defensman for Johnstown and played in 49 games for the team. He had eight goals, 16 assists, good for 24 points and was a +1.

He joined Mitch Kontny at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and played four seasons with the team (2013-2017).

In 95 games he had 33 points (10 goals, 23 assists). His best seasons were in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 when he scored 13 points both times.

Like Kontny, his last season was last year.

Connor Wright

Wright is another player who only played one season for Johnstown before aging out of junior hockey. He played in 56 games for the Tomahawks and registered 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists). He also had 81 penalty minutes.

Remember, when the team first entered the NAHL players were only given five-minutes for fighting instead of the five-minute major and a ten-minute misconduct like the league started doing a few years ago. I mention this because if Wright (among many other players) played for the Hawks in more recent years, their penalty minute totals would be much higher.

Wright went on to play division one hockey in his hometown of Anchorage Alaska for the University of Alaska-Anchorage from 2013-2017, though in his first season (2013-2014) he didn't not play a single game.

In total, Wright played 33 college games, scoring seven points.

Last year was his last year of hockey played.

Zachary Wallace 

Wallace is one of a few former players who didn't go on to play hockey after his time with Johnstown was over.

Wallace played two season's for Johnstown after he was traded to the team from the now defunked Fresno Monsters.

Both season's with Johnstown, Wallace, played in 56 games, giving him a total of 112 in a Johnstown uniform. He had 31 points (nine goals, 22 assists) and was an impressive +15.

He married former Johnstown Tomahawks' front office staffer, Katie Saylor, back in 2016.

Here is a video of their big day from Youtube:

Wallace stopped playing after his two season's with the Tomahawks (2012-2014)

Brandon Brossoit

Brossoit didn't spend much time in Johnstown as he was traded to the Fresno Monsters as part of the Zachary Wallace deal.

In total, Brossoit played in 15 games for the Hawks and had 11 points (four goals, seven assists).

He would play in only seven games for the Monsters before he was traded once again, this time to the Topeka Roadrunners where he finshed his season.

He did not play again for a couple of years until the 2015-2016 season, when he played four games of division three hockey with the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He didn't have any points.

That was the last time Brossoit played.

Cody Boyd

Boyd, the son of former Johnstown Chief, and General Manager of the Tomahawks, Rick Boyd, played one season for his hometown team.

Cody was a fan favorite as he played the same tough-guy role as his father had done many years earlier. In 55 games he had nine points (four goals, five assists) and 143 penalty minutes.

The next two season he played in the BCHL for the Coqutlam Express where he won a championship in 2013-2014 and the following year was an alternite captain on the team.

He then played two seasons of division one hockey at Canisius College. In 39 games he had one assist.

Last year was his last year of hockey played.

UPDATE: Currently lives in Texas

Jake Fairchild

Jake was another fan favorite because of his tough-guy approach when it came to playing defense.

Towards the end of the season, while playing against the Jamestown Ironmen, in Jamestown, Fairchild got into a fight with an Ironman player while still on the bench.

He only played one season for the Tomahawks, as he was traded during the following year's training camp to the Michigan Warriors, at the time one of Johnstown's in-division rivials.

In 47 games with Johnstown, Fairchild had one goal, six assists, and 210 penalty minutes, which in today's game would be closer to 400 minutes.

After playing the 2013-2014 season with Michigan, where he had five assists and 52 penalty minutes in 31 games, he went and played for Lindenwood University.

Spanning two season, he played 60 games and had 31 points (five goals, 26 assists) and 91 penalty minutes.

He hasn't played since the 2015-2016 season.

Cobi Smith-Mass

Cobi is another former Tomahawks' player who's career ended once his time in Johnstown did.

He played in 39 games, scoring five goals and one assist.

He missed a couple months of the season when he injured his shoulder during a fight in only the second game of the season.

Smith-Mass hasn't played since 2012-2013.

Mike Sandor

Sandor was a grinder from Canada who played in one season for the Johnstown Tomahawks. In 44 games he scored six points (two goals, four assists).

He spent the following four years at Simon Fraser University, a Canadian university. During his time there he played in 70 games and had 26 points (14 goals, 12 assists). His best season was in 2015-2016 when he scored 13 points.

His last season of hockey was last year.

Codey Hansen

Hansen only played in 13 games for Johnstown. He was another tough defensmen Johnstown had in their inaugural lineup. He had two goals and two assists with 58 penalty minutes during his time in Johnstown.

He was then traded to the Topeka Roadrunners where he played in 19 games. He had another two goals, two assists, with 134 penalty minutes.

He did not play college hockey.

Matthew Williams

Williams played 14 games with the Tomahawks after he was traded to Johnstown from the Coulee Region Chill. In those 14 games he had two assists.

The following year he attended Lake Forest College but only played in one game before suffering a cancer scare.

I wrote an article about his battle on the blog which you can read here.

Williams would rejoin the Tomahawks during the 2014-2015 season as an assistant coach. That was the Tomahawks worst season (until this year) and Mike Letizia's first year as head coach of the team. Williams as an assistant only lasted for that season.

UPDATE: Graduated from Western Michigan and now works for USA Hockey.

Matthew McLaughlin

McLaughlin  was a goalie who only appeared in one game for the Tomahawks. He had a save percentage of .750.

In the same season he played with the Queen City Steam (NA3HL) and Minnesota Flying Aces (NA3HL)

He did not play again (at least in a league with avalible stats and information) until last season when he played one division three game for Finlandia University. He posted a save percentage of .837.

He is not playing this season.

Bobby Tritschler

Tristschler is another player I can't really tell you much about as he only played in one game for Johnstown and didn't have any points.

He just finished playing four years at the University of Pittsburgh were he played in 113 games and had 97 points.

His best year coming last year, his final year, when he scored 35 points in 31 games.

UPDATE: Attends Pitt law school.

Gage Christianson

Christianson was a highly skilled player that for whatever reason, didn't get to show that skill with Johnstown.

Prior to coming to Johnstown, Gage played for the Alaska Avalanche in 2011-2012, the team that would move to Johnstown and become the Tomahawks. In 59 game he had 53 points.

When the team and Christianson came to Johnstown, Gage only appeared in three games for Johnstown, not registering a point. He was then traded to the Amarillo Bulls. In 50 games he would go on to score 51 points.

He then spent the next four season playing division three hockey for the Milwaukee School of Enginerring, where he continued to score. In total, he played in 84 games and had 79 points.

He has not joined a team since ending his college career last season.

Brandon Platt

Platt is another guy you might not remember as he only played in three games for the Tomahawks and didn't have any points.

The team traded him to the Texas Tornado where he played in 33 games and had 10 points (six goals, four assists).

He then played four season of division three hockey at Salem State College. He had 63 points (25 goals, 38 assists) in 80 games. He was made an assistant captain last season, his senior year, which was also his last playing season.

UPDATE: Graduated and now lives in Florida.

Payton Ruter

Ruter, play four games for Johnstown at the start of the season and while he had no points, he did have 15 penalty minutes.

After leaving Johnstown he joined the Fort Frances Lakers of the SIJHL where he played in 30 games (three goals, eight assists).

He did not play another season of hockey after that.

Jon Kostial

Jon's anther player with limited time in Johnstown. He played in five games, and didn't have a point. He also saw action with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EmJHL) where he had eight points in eight game, and the Three Rivers Vengeance (NA3HL) where he had a goal and an assist in seven games.

He did not continue to play after that.

Dakoda Menslage

Mensalge played in Johnstown for parts of three seasons from 2012-2015 before he was traded to the Odessa Jackalopes for Lane Valimont and Alex Alger, a trade that benifited both teams.

Dakoda spent 97 games in Johnstown, scoring 30 points, and 230 penalty minutes.

After being traded, he finished the year in Odessa and then returned the following season for 13 games before being traded to the New Jersey Titans.

For both teams after Johnstown, he did not have as much success like he did with the Tomahawks having only scored 14 point in 42 games.

Last season he appeared in 10 division three college games for the Wentworth Institue of Technology where he had seven points (two goals, five assists).

He is not listed as playing this season.

Bodhi Engum

Engum is the last player from the 2012-2013 roster that is no longer playing hockey.

He appeared in eight games for the Tomahawks and had a save percentage of .838. When the team brought in Chris Truehl and Colin  Brennan, this marked the end of Engum's time in Johnstown.

Since leaving Johnstown, Engum has not played for another team.

Back in 2013 I wrote an article about Billets, and Engum was one of the players talked out in the article. You can read that here.

Now it's time to report on players that are still playing hockey. All of these players are currently playing for various college hockey programs.

Jordan Watt

I already did an update on Jordan Watt last week when I listed him as one of the Tomahawks alumni who's having a great 2017-2018 season. If you didn't see that post, you can find it here.

Brandon Reinholz

Reinholz, another fan favorite during his time in Johnstown because of his toughness and scoring ability, is one of five former Tomahawks players that are currently playing at Hamline University.

Rienholz played two season for Johnstown. In 2012-2013 in appeared in 53 games, scoring 32 points and 126 penalty minutes. The following year he only missed one game, playing in 59 games and scoring 39 points, with 98 penalty minutes.

Starting in 2014-2015 he joined Hamline University, a division three hockey program. In his first year, his team was a championship.

In total, Bradon has played in 92 games and has 45 points. His freshman year was his best season, point wise, when he scored 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in 29 games.

So far this season he has played in 10 games and has four goal and four assists.

Jesse Kessler

Kessler is another player that after finishing his junior hockey career decided to go to Hamline University.

Kessler played  58 games in his first season with Johnstown, where he scored 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) and had 73 penalty minutes.

He returned the following year to play in 16 games, but only had two assists before he was traded to the Minnesota Wilderness, where he finished the season with a goal and two assists in 26 games.

He then joined Reinholz and other former Tomahawks' teammates at Hamline University.

This season he's played in 10 games and has five assists.

Overall, in his four years at the university he has appeared in 92 games and has 55 points.

His best season was his sophomore year where he had 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in 27 games.

Andrew McDonald

Andrew spent one season with the Tomahawks and came over with the team as part of the Wallace deal from the Fresno Monsters.

In 45 games, the speedy forward had 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists).

The following year, McDonald joined the USHL's Fargo Force where he played in 53 games and had 10 points.

He then join Bentley University, a division one school.

Including this season's games, he has played in 109 games, scoring 37 points.

This year he has three assists in 17 games.

Ian Spencer

Spencer played two different times with the Tomahawks. The first came in 2012-2013 where he played in 53 games scoring 21 points (five goals, 16 assists).

During that year's offseason he was traded.

He returned to Johnstown in 2014-2015 after a trade with Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. In 43 games he had three goals and 10 assists.

The follow year he'd head to Nichols College a division three school, where he's teammates with two other Tomahawks' alumni,  whom I'll soon talk about.

Counting this season as well, Spencer has played in 55 games for Nichols and has 26 points.

This year, his third season of college hockey, he has 13 points in 11 games.

JB Baker

Baker was a good player for Johnstown who had a nack of being able to drawl penalties. He played one season and appeared in 58 games, scoring 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists).

He was set to return the following season, but was traded one day before the Hawks first game of the 2013-2014 season. At the time it was said that compared to the other players on the roster, he was not up to par.

Well, Baker would spend three more season in the NAHL with Rio Grande and Topeka and showed he was a very capable player. His breakout season was in 2015-16 with the Topeka Roadrunners where he played in all 60 games and score 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists).

In two seasons at Nichols College he's been even more impressive, scoring 54 points in only 41 games.

This year, he has 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 14 games.

Jaycob McCombs

McCombs spent parts of two seasons with Johnstown. In his first year he played in 42 games, and his second year he played in only six before he was traded to the Minnesota Wilderness. In total, he had 16 points during his time in Johnstown.

He's currently in his fourth season at Hamline University where he's played in 88 games, where he has 43 points.

This season he has played in ten games and has three assists.

His best year so far was his freshman year when he scored 21 points in 28 games.

Mitch Hall

Hall is yet another player that is playing for Hamline University.

Hall is one of the best trades the Tomahawks have ever made, as they brought him to the team in a deal with the Jamestown Ironmen.

Hall appeared in two seasons for Johnstown where he became one of the best offesnive defensman the Tomahawks have ever had.

In his second year with the team, he played in 59 games and scored 43 points (six goals, 37 assists).

He joined Hamline for the 2014-15 season and has 67 points in 84 games.

This year he only played in two games (two assists) before a leg injury shut him down for the long term.

This is one player I hope can recover from his injury and and gives it at a shot at the pro level. I think he'd be able to impress some people.

Cody Bentzel

Bentzel is the other alum who's playing for Hamline. There's yet another player (number five), but we'll get to him in a later post.

Bentzel was a defesive defensman who played two season for the Tomahawks. In 107 games for Johnstown he had 13 points, three goals and 10 assists.

At Hamline he's continued to play his style of game, scoring 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in 90 games.

This season he has one assist in eight games.

Evan Hesse

Hesse only played in nine games for the Tomahawks before he was traded to the Brookings Blizzard.

In those nine games he had four points (one goal, three assists).

With the Blizzard he played two season (104 games) and scored 81 points (31 goals, 50 assists).

He's currently in his fourth year at Augsburg College, a division three school. In 84 games he has 38 points.

This season he's appeard in eight games and has two assists.

Joe Bender

Bender was a Mars, Pa native who saw action in six games with the Hawks here he only scored one assist.

Currently he's playing at Slippery Rock University enjoying his senior season. In total he's played in 102 games and has 129 points.

15 of those points (two goals, 13 assists) have come this season in 16 games.

Corey Schafer

Schafer was the second player of the Tomahawks first season to play for his hometown team. Boyd of course being the first.

He joined the team in a trade that sent Kristaps Bazevices to the Wichita Falls Wildcats. This was one of the worse trades the Tomahawks have made in their history because Schafer would only play in seven games for the Hawks (one assist) while Bazevices, well, I'll get to him in a moment.

The next two season, Schafer played for the Missoula Maulers of the WSHL were he scored 122 points in 84 games. He also had 227 penalty minutes.

He's currently in his third season at Becker College. He's played in 64 games and has 30 points.

This year in 15 games he's scored five goals, seven assists, which is good for 12 points.

Colin Brennan

Brennan played 22 games in net for the Tomahawks during their first year in the NAHL. He had a record of 7-8-5 and a save percentage of .906. He also had one shutout.

The following year he played 16 games for the Soo Eagles of the NAHL where he posted a record of 5-6-4, and a save percentage of .906. He also had one shutout with the Eagles.

Brennan is in his last season at Nichols College. He's played in 41 games, 24 of which came last season. He's 18-11-7 so far in his college career.

Nathan Morris

Morris was a towering d-man standing at 6 feet 7 inches.

He only played two games for Johnstown. He didn't have any points.

After leaving Johnstown he played in the T1EHL U18 for Russell Stover U18 for 23 games (5 points) and then the following year in the SJHL for the Weyburn Red Wings for 49 games (13 points).

He's now in his fourth season at Colorado State University, a division three school.

In 91 games he has 87 points but has not played a game this season, though he is listed on the roster.


Now we've reached the last three players from the 2012-2013 roster. These three players are the only  players from Johnstown's first season roster to have made it to the pro ranks.

Kristaps Bazevics

Played only 30 games with Johnstown before he was traded to the Wichita Falls Wildcats in exchange for Corey Schafer.

I called the trade bad because Kristaps would play two more full seasons with the Wildcats while Schafer only played seven games. Also, Kristaps had enough skill to be able to play pro hockey.

With the Wildcats, Bazevics played in 63 games registering nine points and 120 penalty minutes.

Bazevics did not go to college and instead turned pro, first overseas.

He played with Hermes Kokkola for 33 games scoring four points.

The following season he played for Ljubljana Olimpija HK in Austria. In 25 games he had 10 points.  Also last year he played 16 games in France for Gap HC where he had seven points.

This season he returned to North America and is playing in the SPHL for the Mississippi RiverKings. In 15 games he has eight points (two goals, six assists) which is second best on the team among defensman.

Chris Truehl 

Truehl was one of the Tomahawks best goalies in team history. He only played one season for Johnstown but had a record of 17-11-6 with a save percentage of .923 and one shutout.

He then played two season for Air Force Academy, before transfering and playing his last season for Quinnipiac University.

He had a college record of 29-29-7 with four shutouts.

This year he turned pro and signed with the ECHL's Idaho Steelheads, but did not make the team.

He did find a team though overseas to play for; The Belfast Giants of the EIHL. He has appeared in one game so far, a record of 0-0-1 with a save percentage of .909.

Casey Nelson

We've come to the only player so far in Tomahawks history to reach the NHL.

Nelson played one season in Johnstown where he appeared in 56 games had had 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists).

He then moved onto college and spent three season at Minnesota State University (Mankato). In 99 games Nelson had 60 points (14 goals, 46 assists).

He left college at the end of the 2015-2016 and immeditly signed with the Buffalo Sabres and played in seven games where he had four assists, eight penalty minutes, and was a +1.

The following season he split time with the Buffalo Sabres and their AHL affiliate the Rochester Americans.

In 11 games with Buffalo he didn't have a point.

In 58 games with the Americans he had 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists).

This season, Nelson has been called up to Buffalo several times but has not appeared in a game for the Sabres.

In 22 games so far with Rochester, he has nine points (two goals, seven assists) and is a +9.


And there you have it. Updates from every player that played on the first ever Johnstown Tomahawks team.

Next week I'll do an alumni update for all the players that played for Johnstown during the 2013-2014 season, not including any players that I mentioned here.

If you'd like to follow my personal social media accounts you can do so at the follow: Facebook - Twitter - Instagram - IMDB

This year's Johnstown Tomahawks are on the road this weekend as they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Rebels for two games (Friday and Saturday).

The Hawks will then have next week off before coming back home to play the Fairbanks Ice Dogs on December 30-31.

Let's go Hawks!

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