Chris Trouba’s four-season career with the Johnstown Tomahawks didn’t end on the ice because the North American Hockey League season was first paused, then canceled just before his much anticipated comeback.
His injury-interrupted season didn’t diminish the Tomahawks captain’s popularity among the team’s faithful, who voted him as the Fan Favorite Award recipient.
The team announced three awards on Friday.
“His commitment and dedication to the Tomahawks organization and the city of Johnstown is unmatched,” Tomahawks coach Mike Letizia said. “He was the pinnacle of leadership for our program and was deservedly beloved by Tomahawks fans. Even in a season that unfolded like it did, the impact Chris has on our team and Tomahawks supporters is unparalleled.”
Trouba had two goals and seven points in 23 games before he suffered a broken vertebrae during a Nov. 23 home game against the Maryland Black Bears. Initially, it was thought the captain might miss the remainder of the season, but he was cleared to play last weekend for a pair of home games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and his bobblehead was to be presented the second night.
Defenseman Brendan Blair was named the Community Pride and Humanitarian Award winner. Blair played 43 games and had five goals, 13 points and a plus-24 rating.
“We acquired Brendan in November to add a very good hockey player, but also to add someone of high character to our team,” Letizia said. “He delivered in all facets.
“His contributions to the community and giving back were off the charts. He participated in countless community events and appearances while representing the organization and our team to the highest degree.”
Third-year Tomahawks forward Pavel Kharin was named the Unsung Hero Award winner.
“There are no secrets as to what Pav has meant to our team during his time here,” Letizia said. “He has won back-to-back Unsung Hero awards. To me that is truly telling of his desire to do everything he can to help the team win.”
Kharin played 51 games and scored 10 goals with 13 assists for 23 points.
“Pav’s play was instrumental to our success,” Letizia said. "He was the league’s best penalty killer. He was great on face-offs. He played all 200 feet of the ice, scored huge goals for us and was the guy we wanted on the ice when the game was on the line.”
The Tomahawks finished the abbreviated season at 34-13-4 with 72 points and second place in the East Division. Johnstown ended on an eight-game winning streak with victories in 10 of its final 11 games before the season was canceled on Monday.
In addition to Friday’s award winners, the Tomahawks had announced Christian Gorscak as the offensive player of the year on Thursday, and goaltenders Alex Tracy and David Tomeo shared the defensive player of the year award.
The team awards announcements will conclude on Saturday with rookie of the year, most improved player and most valuable player honors.