The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

High School Sports

January 21, 2014

Tomahawks Cup features areas first four high school hockey teams

JOHNSTOWN — Johnstown’s original four high school hockey teams will reunite on the ice for the first time in years during the inaugural Tomahawks Cup event at Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

The NAHL’s Johnstown Tomahawks will host the two-day tournament at Cambria County War Memorial Arena on Sunday and Monday. The field includes scholastic varsity teams from Bishop McCort, Greater Johnstown, Richland and Westmont Hilltop.

“It’s the four original teams,” said Westmont Hilltop coach Art McQuillan. “I really think there is going to be a lot of interest in the community.”

Westmont was the area’s first high school hockey program beginning in 1980-81. Johnstown, McCort and Richland followed, respectively, during the 1980s and into the early 1990s.

“I think this renews local rivalries,” Johnstown coach Sean McTighe said. “Obviously between Westmont and McCort in the other league, and us and Richland in the Laurel Mountain League, we see each other. This gives us an opportunity to play some teams we haven't played much or even played in years. It will generate interest in the community. It’s a win-win.”

Bishop McCort and Westmont Hilltop continue to play in the PIHL Class A, competing against mostly Western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh-area squads.

Several years ago, many of the other local programs left the PIHL and joined the Laurel Mountain Hockey League, which has teams in the region and Central Pennsylvania. Richland and Johnstown joined the LMHL, with the Trojans winning the 2012 league title and Richland edging Johnstown in overtime for the 2013 crown.

“We drew Richland the first round and we haven’t played them probably since they entered the Laurel Mountain League,” McQuillan said. “We know they’re going to come ready to play. It’s a great thing the Tomahawks are doing for interscholastic hockey in our area. They’ve been very supportive of youth hockey, so I know they’re going to put on a first-class tournament.”

Sunday’s games match city teams Bishop McCort and Johnstown at 5 p.m., with Richland and Westmont to follow at 7 p.m. The consolation game will be at 5:30 on Monday, with the championship set for 7:30 p.m.

“We look forward to hosting these four teams, which have each added to the rich hockey tradition in this area,” Tomahawks President Richard Bouchard said in a statement. “We are expecting exciting and hard-fought games as these teams battle to be the inaugural Tomahawks Cup champions.”

The Tomahawks have been community oriented throughout their first two junior hockey seasons in Johnstown. The team interacts with and promotes area youth hockey and high school hockey.

“The tomahawks have been a big boost to everyone here,” McTighe said. “They’ve been very actively involved. Their players are in the community. They’ve been around the hockey programs. Players of all ages look up to them. It’s cool.”

Richland coach J.J. Vasilko said the matchups should rekindle some old memories for long-time high school fans in the area.

“Growing up as a player, those were our biggest rivals,” Vasilko said of Johnstown, McCort and Westmont. “It will be fun to play those guys again. Hopefully it’s something that we’ll be able to do for a long time.”

The games won’t count in the respective league standings, but that shouldn’t diminish the tournament’s significance.

“The players are really excited. They play travel hockey with a lot of these kids, especially on the Westmont side,” Vasilko said. “They’re excited to be able to play them again. We have competitive teams in our league and we want to show we’re able to compete on the local landscape.

“I think the turnout is going to be there from students no matter what happens,” Vasilko added. “If we play Westmont it’s going to get some interest. Any time you’re playing McCort, it’s a rivalry. Johnstown and us has been a big rivalry since we joined the Laurel Mountain League. I think any matchup will draw a crowd.”

Bishop McCort coach John Bradley brings a different perspective to the tournament. Bradley is a former Boston University Terriers goaltender who participated in Boston’s legendary Beanpot Tournament that includes Boston University, Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern.

“We wanted to get the four schools involved just like they do in Boston with BU, BC, Northeastern and Harvard and have bragging rights in the town,” Bradley said of an idea that had been pondered for several years before becoming a reality. “It was nice that the Tomahawks stepped up. I think it will be great for the kids.

“They play in two different leagues, though a lot of them play travel hockey with each other,” he added. “There will certainly be bragging rights for one of the teams. It will be good for the community to get the local teams to play each other at the War Memorial.”

A former Johnstown Chiefs goaltender and veteran McCort coach, Bradley envisions the Tomahawks Cup evolving into a much anticipated social event similar to the Tomahawks New Year’s Eve game.

“When I was recruited I went to a Beanpot game,” Bradley said. “The games were the first two Mondays in February. They alternated on who you played, and there was the consolation game and championship game. Most people would say it was a social event that evolved into a hockey game.

“Everyone wanted to be there. Always the first two Mondays in February people got together and it just so happened that there were two hockey games on each Monday.

“To this day, everybody that ever played in it, you had bragging rights in the city if you were to win that Beanpot. The city was yours.”

Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for youths, and includes both games on that night. The Tomahawks will provide promotions and music to give the tournament a NAHL game-night feel.

Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/masty81.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
High School Sports
  • coleman2 McCort pitcher wins May Award

    Bishop McCort High School’s Brad Coleman earned the May Point Stadium Award nomination based on his performance in a District 6 Class A playoff victory on May 22.
    Coleman pitched a seven-inning, complete game in a 7-2 win over Homer-Center in the 6-A semifinal round. With the win, McCort clinched its fourth consecutive state tournament playoff berth.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • maddison 4 Richland pole vaulter decides on Red Flash

    Maddison Feather has sailed to great heights throughout her scholastic career at Richland High School.
    Feather – a pole vaulter – takes away a District 6 title and an appearance in the PIAA championship meet from her senior season with the Rams.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • mccort27 Area players get PHSBCA nods

    Brad Coleman and Alex Sobecky were part of an amazing four-year run by the Bishop McCort High School baseball team.
    Jack Shirk is an underclassman who stood out on a Richland squad that also has been one of the best in the LHAC in recent seasons.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • lantzy22 color Cory Isenberg | Big numbers posted all around in Lantzy game

    The South’s 48-18 victory over the North in Friday night’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star game was an entertaining evening of football for the reported crowd of close to 4,500 at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium.
    The point total for the Rebels equaled the output of the South squad in the 30th edition of the game but is behind the 51 scored by the Yankees in the 1992 contest and the 50 points tallied by the South in the 39th game.

    June 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • lantzy Local stars shine in Ken Lantzy Finest 40 game

    While the Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Game brings football standouts from across the region to Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium, Friday night’s contest took on a distinct Richland flavor as the South toppled the North 48-18 in the 44th edition of the summer football contest.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • jerry Former coach honored for long service

    The venerable Jerry Page, former coach of Laurel Valley, always preached that football was so much more than just a game.
    Page, whose son Greg of Homer-Center was the North squad coach Friday at the 44th Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star game, was honored prior to the start of the game.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • north20 North offense shows big gains during Lantzy practices

    As the North offense prepared for tonight’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star game at Trojan Stadium on the campus of Greater Johnstown High School, tightening up issues with timing and terminology was at the top of the unit’s to-do list.
    If the North’s offense takes the field and operates with machine-like precision tonight, it can thank the intersquad scrimmage on Tuesday as the breakthrough point of the group’s progress during the week.

    June 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • soff Three quality quarterbacks bolster South’s chances in Lantzy Game

    The South squad has an impressive arsenal of offensive talent on hand for Friday’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Game, set for 7 p.m. at Trojan Stadium.
    The Rebels have three skilled quarterbacks on the roster who have combined for nearly 5,000 yards passing and another 2,000 yards on the ground.

    June 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • South D.JPG South changes defense after last year’s loss

    After being thrashed 41-7 last year by the North, the South is hoping to rise again as it prepares for Friday’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star Game set for 7 p.m. at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium.
    On defense, those plans will evolve around the change in defensive schemes that has been instituted with teams now required to run a 4-3.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • lantzy north17.JPG North defense happy to get back to contact as Lantzy game approaches

    It’s been a while since organized live contact on the football field has been a concern for anyone suiting up to play in Friday’s Ken Lantzy Finest 40 All-Star game at Greater Johnstown’s Trojan Stadium.
    Talking to members of the North defensive unit, that long wait came with a satisfying end on Monday when teams went into contact drills in the week-long preparations for the 44th edition of the region’s football showcase.

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
Order Photos


Photo Slideshow

House Ads