• Jon Kohan

To: Johnstown - From: Canada

written by David Nicoletti

The Tomahawks have been taking the ice in Johnstown since the 2012-13 season. Throughout all the players the Tomahawks have seen play for the team, a majority of those players were American. Well, did you know that the Tomahawks have had several players come to the team from our neighbors to the north? In fact, in the Tomahawks eight-year history, the team have welcomed fourteen Canadian players and four half Canadian players to their lineup throughout the years. A total of 18 players.

Fourteen forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie.

The Tomahawks first ever Canadian to take the ice was actually half Canadian - half american player. Who was it you might ask? It was none other than Johnstown native Cody Boyd. 

Cody’s Canadian side comes from his father and former Tomahawks general manager, Rick Boyd who was born in Fort St. John, British Columbia. Rick was a member of the Johnstown Chiefs for six seasons. Plus, like many know, like father like son, Rick and Cody were known for their tough physical style of play everytime they hit the ice. 

Cody would play 55 games for the Hawks during the 2012-13 season. He scored only nine points (four goals, five assists), with 143 penalty minutes, welcoming back that old time hockey we all missed when the Chiefs left for South Carolina after the 2009-10 season. 

During that same 2012-13 season, the Tomahawks would go on to welcome their first full Canadian, Mike Sandor. A North Vancouver, British Columbia native took to the ice a little after the beginning of the season. He would then go on to play the next 44 games with the Hawks, putting up only six points (two goals, four assists).

The Tomahawks would then welcome two more Canadian players and one half Canadian player for the upcoming 2013-14 season. Tyler Basham, Josh Bowes, and Garrison Sanipass.

Starting off with Tyler Basham, a Surrey, British Columbia, native who went on to play 56 games for the Hawks that season, tailing up six goals and 11 assists.

Josh Bowes, a St. Albert, Alberta, native who played 38 games with the Hawks during the 2013-14 seasons, put up five goals and 11 assists his first year in Johnstown. He would return to the Tomahawks lineup the following 2014-15 season. In 51 games that season, he tallied four goals and 10 assists. 

Now, American/Canadian, Garrison Sanipass. This 6’5” beast Sackville, New Brunswick, native took the ice for 40 games in 2013-14, and two games in 2014-15. In total, he put up three points (one goal, two assists). He was then later traded to the Michigan Warriors on September 24th, 2014. 

Other than Josh Bowes and Garrison Sanipass for the 2014-15 season. The Tomahawks would have no other Canadian player suit up for the team for the whole season. The same would go for the 2015-16 season, where the roster was full of Americans and one European player, Filip Buncis. But that article will come in the near future.

After one full year of no Canadian players taking the ice for Johnstown, the Tomahawks would then welcome three new Canadian players to its roster. Nick Criminisi, Bray Crowder, and 2016-17 leading scorer, Nicholas Bruce.

Nick Criminisi, a Carlisle, Ontario, native took to the ice for Johnstown in only three games during the 2016-17 season.

Bray Crowder, a Sudbury, Ontario native only played two games for the Hawks that same season. Coming up empty on the scoresheet during both of his games with the team. 

Forward Nick Bruce playing for the Johnstown Tomahawks during the 2016-17 season
photo by Gladys Bantly

Finally, to wrap up the 2016-17 season, we move on to Nicholas Bruce. The Tomahawks leading scorer during the season went on to play all 60 games with the team that year. In total, he put up 27 goals, 47 assists, 67 points and was named to the NAHL All-East Division Team with all the accomplishments he made during the season. 

The Tomahawks would then go on to welcome two duel citizen players to its roster during the 2017-18 season; Michael McCosh, and Carson Briere.

Michael McCosh was born in Glendale, Arizona, but he gets his Canadian status from his father, Shawn McCosh, who was born in Oshawa, Ontario, McCosh played only seven games with the Tomahawks during the 2017-18 year. where he only put up two assists. He now plays for the New Mexico Ice Wolves of the NAHL.

Finally, Carson Briere. His Canadian side comes from his father, former NHLer and All Star MVP, Daniel Briere. Daniel is a native of Gatineau, Quebec, but his three sons (Caelan, Carson, and Cameron) were born in Haddonfield, New Jersey. 

Carson played 38 games for the Hawks in 2017-18, and 59 games in 2018-19. In total, he scored 54 goals, and 57 assists. He had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 12 playoff games during the 2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs. 

He led the Tomahawks in scoring in 2018-19 with 89 points (44 goals, 45 assists). He was named NAHL (East) Forward of the Year, NAHL (East) Most Valuable Player, and was named to the NAHL All-East Division Team, and NAHL All-NAHL Team during his accomplishments he made all season long.

Johnstown would then welcome five more Canadian players to the team during its incredible 2018-19 season run. Cooper Lukenda, Austin Friesen, Oliver Benwell, Cameron Hebert, and Bennett Stockdale.

Cooper Lukenda, a 6’2” goaltender and a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. In 21 games for the Hawks, he tallied a 2.92 GAA a .897 save percentage, and one lone shutout. He saw action in one 2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoff game where he posted a 1.56 GAA, and a .929 save percentage.

Next up, Austin Friesen, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba put up 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in all 60 games for the Hawks during the 2018-19 season. He tallied alone assist during the 2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs.

Oliver Benwell, a native of Toronto, Ontario took to the ice for 59 games during the season. Registering 70 points (28 goals, 42 assists) during the regular season, and 15 points (10 goals, five assists) during 13 playoff games during the 2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs.  

Next, Cameron Hebert. Hebert is a native of St. Andrews West, Ontario. During his time with the Hawks in 2018-19, he took to the ice in 58 games scoring 26 goals and 52 assists. He had four goals and 11 assists in 13 playoff games during the 2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs. 

Finally, Bennett Stockdale, an Ottawa, Ontario native who took to the ice for all 60 games in 2018-19, and 50 games during the COVID shortened 2019-20 season. In all, the right winger put up 29 goals and 52 assists. Along with 6 playoff games during the 2019 NAHL Robertson Cup Finals, scoring one lone goal.

The following 2019-20 season, the Tomahawks would welcome three more Canadian players to the lineup. Noah Basarab, Tristan Poissant, and Carson Gallagher.

First, Noah Basarab, a native of Gimli, Manitoba went on to play 46 games during the 2019-20 season. In that time, he scored 16 goals and 12 assists. 

Second, Tristan Poissant, this Les Coteaux, Quebec native went on to play 48 games for the Tomahawks that same season. He scored 13 goals and tailed 25 assists. 

Finally, Courtice, Ontario native, Carson Gallagher, one of the Tomahawks alternate captains for the 2019-20 season would go on to play all 51 games during the 2019-20 shortened COVID season. During his time with the Hawks, Gallagher went on to score 20 goals, and tailed 24 assists for the Hawks during the season.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is where the list concludes for all Johnstown Tomahawks players who have Canadian ties, at least for the time being of course.

Who's been your favorite Caniadan player so far to wear a Tomahawks sweater?

I will be posting a Johnstown European type connection article in the near future. But for now, I hope you enjoyed this one.

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