Sanipass first to move up from MWJHL to NAHL
Garrison Sanipass made history when the Amateur Athletic Union-based Midwest Junior Hockey League sent its first player to the North American Hockey League.
The Traverse City Hounds rookie signed with the Johnstown Tomahawks and should make his NAHL debut Oct. 24-26, when the Tomahawks host the Soo Eagles for three games at the War Memorial in Johnstown, PA.
Sanipass said getting the call after just five games with the Hounds was an incredible feeling.
“I had been talking to Johnstown since the beginning of the season,” Sanipass, a 19-year-old native of Northbrook, IL, said on the Hounds’ website. “(Hounds coaches) Scott Gardiner and Randy Montrose got me in condition and got me ready to make the leap to the next level.
This season with the Hounds, Sanipass had six goals and 10 assists for 16 points, good for second in the MWJHL scoring race.
“As an organization, we are very excited for Garrison,” Gardiner said. “He will be missed here in Traverse City, but Johnstown is getting a great player and an even better person.”
In signing with the Tomahawks, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Sanipass becomes the first MWJHL player in the league’s two-year history to sign with an NAHL team.
“We knew when we signed Garrison that he probably wouldn’t last the whole season here, but to get promoted after just two weeks shows you how hard he worked and how much Johnstown really wanted him,” added Montrose. “We certainly wish him the best and hope he makes an immediate impact with Johnstown.
“In all my years of coaching, there is no sweeter joy than seeing players develop and move up to higher levels of this game. I’ve said it before – this is why we do what we do. Scotty and I will take the wins, sure, but our priority has been, and will always be, to develop our players to get promoted to higher levels of Junior hockey and eventually, to College Hockey.”
With the Tomahawks, Sanipass will join former Little Caesars teammates Shane Bednard, Alex Jaeckle and Brett Young.
Traverse City sent nine players from last season’s team to various College Hockey programs this year, including six to NCAA Division III Finlandia University.