Christian Gorscak did something that no other Johnstown Tomahawks player had accomplished in their eight seasons at the War Memorial on Thursday, landing the North American Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player award during an online version of the end of the year ceremony.
“It’s such an honor to get this award,” Gorscak said to Pittsburgh Hockey Digest on Thursday. “I could not have done it without my teammates, the city of Johnstown, my coach, my billets, it was just an unbelievable experience. It’s great.
“You always have high expectations of yourself. This is not something that I ever would have thought of, it was something I always dreamed of. I’m just glad that coach Mike [Letizia] and coach Nick [Perri] and the coaching staff gave me the opportunity to play with some great teammates and gave me a chance to win this award.”
Christian was also named the NAHL Forward of the Year for the 2019-20 season, amassing 25 goals and 39 assists en-route to a tie for the league’s scoring lead – a 40 point improvement on his previous full season.
“I did the same training,” Gorscak said. “I train out on Neville Island with a guy named Si Bishop, he has great training facility out there. I worked hard, but I think it comes with the experience you have in the league and knowing how everything works. Obviously as you get older you get more comfortable and more confidence as well.”
Gorscak’s junior career ended as the NAHL cancelled the remainder of their slate on March 13, the morning of a matchup with the Wilkes-Barre Knights. He scored the final goal of the season for the Tomahawks in a 1-0 victory over Maryland on March 7.
THE BUILD UP
Christian played midget major for the Esmark Stars, where he recorded a massively successful 2016-17 campaign. The forward registered 100 points as a 16-year old for the under-16 squad en-route to the program’s first NAPHL playoff championship and Dixon Cup. He also added 13 points in six games while playing underage with the under-18 squad.
In addition to the Stars, he skated for Hempfield Area in the PIHL the same year, registering 15 goals and 39 points in 15 games. In three seasons with the Spartans, Gorscak registered 106 points in 48 games.
If and when the 2020-21 season opens up, Gorscak will trade in his red, white, and blue of Johntown for purple and white as he joins Pittsburgh natives Chad Veltri, Eric Cooley and Wheeling native Luke Edgerton at Niagara University.
Christian originally committed to play in the 2021-22 season, but moved up his enrollment to this upcoming season. He will skate for another Pittsburgh native, head coach Jason Lammers.
Tomahawks captain Chris Trouba landed the 2019-20 Leadership Award from the league as the defender recovered from a severe neck injury prior to the Thanksgiving break, only to have the comeback cut short by the cancellation of the season the night he was scheduled to return.
Team president Rick Bouchard won his second consecutive Executive of the Year award as the team backed up a strong 2018-19 campaign this past year, while continuing the successful progression of players to the NCAA level.