Tyler Basham to the Tomahawks
In their inaugural season in the NAHL, the Johnstown Tomahawks achieved accomplishments that some franchises are never able to fulfill. Named the NAHL’s 2012-2013 Organization of the Year, the Pennsylvania team made a Robertson Cup Playoff appearance, signed three players to NCAA Division I universities, and had the fifth best attendance in the league. With a litany of awards surrounding the organization, Tyler Basham set out to make one of the best teams in the NAHL.
Just last weekend, over seventy-five players traveled to Johnstown with the intent of making the roster. “They were good players—a really elite group of guys,” Basham recalled. However, the El Paso forward knew he was ready to compete, having prepared all summer and all season for the tryout. “I mainly focused on conditioning, running hills and stairs every day during the offseason.”
With the Rhinos, Basham also improved tremendously throughout the season, noting, “The program forces you to be in top physical condition and always pushes you as hard as you can go.” Working in the training center, he skated on the state of the art skating treadmill twice a week. “The treadmill really goes back to the basics. It helps you with your stride, which helps you get faster, which allows you to get around a guy and score the goal that may win the game.” Coach Cory Herman highlighted the center’s quickness, “There are not many players that are faster than he is. When he plays to his strengths, he is a very effective player.” His statistics corroborated his coach’s comments. In two seasons with the Rhinos, Basham posted 87 points, five of those being game winning goals.
Throughout his time in El Paso, the Surrey, BC native enjoyed the small hockey community. “The fans were always there for you and the atmosphere was great. My billet family, Shawn and Dan Gotaas, welcomed me and made me feel like I was at home.” Similarly, Johnstown’s small population means that Basham will remain in a closely knit hockey group. “It’s a really nice city with friendly people. Everyone knows each other and the team is really involved in the community. They let the community know that they are really there for them.” However, the largest difference between Johnstown and El Paso is the one detail that Tyler will miss the most—sunshine. “It always rains up here. I’ll miss the nice weather.”
Before heading into the NAHL in less than three weeks, there is one invaluable lesson that Basham is taking away from the Sun City, “I learned that if you’re not going to put the time in, no one else is going to do it for you. Day in and day out, you have to do what it takes to get to the next level.” This lesson has, and will continue to contribute to the twenty year old’s success.