EBENSBURG, Pa. — After having a stellar rookie year with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League, Roman Kraemer put several national universities on notice.
But when he was deciding on where he wanted to take his career, the young forward said that it was not a very difficult decision to choose Robert Morris.
“It was an easy choice,” Kraemer said. “It’s an awesome opportunity, and I get the chance to stay close to home. I’ve played most of my hockey in Pittsburgh, and I’m happy that I’ll get to spend another four years back home.”
Kraemer, who is a native of Moon Township, Pa., will play collegiate hockey for his hometown team at Robert Morris for the 2019-20 season. Previously, he played for the Serra Catholic Eagle for three seasons and the Penguins Elite U18 Team. Playing at Robert Morris will be the next step up in the process for Kraemer, who said that donning the Colonials sweater will be a dream come true for him.
“I’ve always wanted to go there,” Kraemer said. “My brother went there, and I’ve stayed there a couple times with him. It’s a great campus and a nice rink. It’s been somewhere that I’ve always wanted to play at.”
In his first full season with the Tomahawks, Kraemer had 21 goals and 38 points in 59 games. He would finish the season first on the team in goals and second in points, behind only defenseman Samuel Solensky. At the end of the season, he was selected as part of the NAHL All-Rookie Team and the All-East Division Team. Kraemer’s personality also meshed with Johnstown, as he was named the team’s fan favorite player.
After a slow start to the season that saw him score only four goals in his first 16 games, Kraemer found some consistency and heated up offensively to help guide his team on the score sheet. Tomahawks head coach Mike Letizia said that after having a spectacular run to end the season, receiving an offer from Robert Morris was well deserved.
“He had 21 goals last year and there’s no doubt he can put up more than that,” Letizia said.” He had a great finish to the season and was rewarded with an offer from RMU. It was very, very well deserved. His best hockey is still in front of him.”
Kraemer will remain with the Tomahawks for the upcoming season, as his commitment does not kick off until the fall of 2019. Until then, Letizia said he’s very excited to have the talented forward back for a second full season.
“Roman is an offensive player for sure, and he has a great shot,” Letizia said. “He is always around the puck and creates chances in the offensive zone. And we know he’s a guy that can put the puck in the net.”
While Kraemer will not be joining the Colonials squad until next fall, he said that he wants to keep developing and working on his game until then. After transitioning to the junior leagues and learning to play against tougher competition, Kraemer said he is going to keep developing his overall game this season in Johnstown.
“I can definitely work on my skating and my physicality,” Kraemer said. “But I really think that all aspects of my game can get better.”
Even with greener pastures awaiting, Kraemer is trying not to look too far ahead. The Tomahawks finished last in the East Division last year and had the fourth-worst record in the entire NAHL. Looking to improve his game, Kraemer said there is still plenty of work to be done with the Tomahawks this year.
“We want to keep working and are looking to have a great year,” Kraemer said.