Johnstown Tomahawks OHL Connections
Written by: David Nicoletti
The Ontario Hockey League is one of the three major junior ice hockey leagues which constitute the Canadian Hockey League. The Canadian Hockey League is an umbrella organization that represents the three Canada-based major junior ice hockey leagues. It is one of the best junior hockey leagues in all of North America. This season, the Johnstown Tomahawks have the privilege of having four people on the team that have a connection with the OHL. Let's take a look at who those four guys are today.
MIKE LETIZIA | HEAD COACH
We all know that Mike Letizia has been with the Tomahawks organization since day one. He started off as the Tomahawks assistant coach for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 season. He was then promoted to head coach before the start of the 2014-15 season and has since then remained in that lead role.
Mike Letizia played for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers from 2002-03 to 2005-06 season. He was a defenseman who starred in a career total of 247 games for the Whalers. From there, the Chicago native would go on to put up a total of 25 goals, 58 assists, 155 penalty minutes, and a plus 34 average for the team in his four seasons there. Along with 40 OHL playoff games, putting up three goals, one assist, 22 penalty minutes, and a minus seven average for the team.
The two-time NAHL (East) Coach of the year would then shift over to professional hockey in 2006. Where he debuted for the UHL’s Rockford IceHogs in the 2006 playoffs. He would appear in nine games for the Hogs, scoring one goal, two assists, and three penalty minutes in the playoffs. He would spend the upcoming 2006-07 season for the Rockford IceHogs. Appearing in 64 games scoring a goal, 15 assists, 25 penalty minutes, and a plus 16 average. With a side of one goal and eight penalty minutes in 13 playoff games in 2007.
NICK MISH | ASSISTANT COACH & GOALTENDING COACH
The second-year goaltending coach and first-year assistant coach started his coaching days in 2016. The Johnstown native started off as the goaltending coach for Westmont Hilltop during the 2016-17 season before he would go to coach the Appalachian Elite 16U & 18U AA teams for three seasons. Eventually he landed a spot on the Tomahawks staff in 2019-20.
Nick Mish was a part of the OHL’s Erie Otters for the 1999-00 season but never appeared in a game for the team all year. He spent the previous 1998-99 season playing goaltender for the Golden Rockets of the KIJHL where in 6 games with the team, he put up a 3.94 GAA and a .894 save percentage.
ALEX GRITZ | CAPTAIN | FORWARD
Cranberry Township native Alex Gritz was a 2020 NAHL Supplemental Draft draft pick for the Tomahawks at pick number 50. The Tomahawks captain was a four year veteran of the CHL before he decided to come home and play for his hometown Tomahawks in his last season of junior eligibility.
Gritz spent the 2016-17 season with the OHL’s Soo Greyhounds. He would appear in 37 games for the team, scoring two goals, three assists, 12 penalty minutes, and a minus-five average. He would then go on to spend the 2017-18 through 2019-20 season with the Erie Otters of the OHL. He would play a career total of 125 games with the Otters, scoring 23 goals, 29 assists, 7 penalty minutes, with a minus 22 average.
Gritz would appear in three games for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL in 2019-20. Appearing in three games tallying one assist. Before heading back to the CHL, this time in the QMJHL for the defending league champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. He would appear in 45 games for the Huskies, scoring two goals, six assists, 19 penalty minutes, and a minus-three average.
All that would eventually lead the way for him to be a part of this year's Johnstown Tomahawks roster. As well as being named captain for the 2020-21 season. So far in six games for the Hawks this season, the center forward has put up two goals, four assists, two penalty minutes, and a plus-two average.
PEYTON GRAINER | GOALTENDER
He is the brother of current Tomahawks forward Carson Grainer. The 6’1” goaltender played the entire 60 minutes for Team Red in their 4-2 loss to Team White this past Friday during the Tomahawks Veterans Appreciation scrimmage. He stood tall all game though stopping 23 out of 27 shots faced.
Grainer spent the previous 2019-20 season in the T1EHL 18U playing for the Belle Tire 18U AAA. Appearing in 33 games, putting up a 1.38 GAA. The Detroit native would also star in one game for the OHL’s Flint Firebirds. He would put up a 2.06 GAA and a .857 save percentage.
Hopefully, pretty soon we could see the 18-year-old goaltender appear in some games for the Tomahawks this 2020-21 season. After playing well this past Friday in the Team Red vs. Team White scrimmage, I definitely see some potential in the young goaltender.
There you have it, folks, our members from our 2020-21 Johnstown Tomahawks who have some connections with the OHL. I hope you enjoyed it! Let us know if we should cover any other Johnstown connection to any other league around the world.