AMARILLO, TX – Whatever it takes…
Whether they’ve are a returning player or a rookie trying to crack a North American Hockey League roster for the first time, training camp for most means working hard, battling and competing for a spot.
Two players who were selected by the Bulls in the NAHL Draft in June are already making their mark at camp. They’re looking to be part of the group that will head up to Blaine, Minnesota in the middle of next month.
Johnny Panvica was selected in the fourth round, 93rd overall from Jefferson High School in Minnesota, while Riley Christianson was chosen in the ninth round 178th overall from the Northern Cyclones of the Eastern Hockey League. Both players are thrilled with the way camp has gone thus far.
“The camp has been great so far, high intensity and high pace,” Christensen said. “The guys are already fun to play with as well as compete really hard. It’s been a long summer and I couldn’t wait to get down here to play.”
Panvica said he’s happy with the way the returning players are making everyone feel welcome.
“The adjustment has been pretty good so far,” he said. “We have some terrific veterans and leaders here so they have made everyone feel welcome. As rookies we have our responsibilities, but they are not too harsh on us unlike what some teams are.”
It’s been a busy summer for Panvica who was a late cut at a United States Hockey League camp before being drafted by the Bulls. The Bloomington, Minnesota native then headed to the Amarillo Bulls Main Camp in Michigan where he made the squad that was asked to report to the Texas Panhandle. Panvica said the Amarillo Bulls program speaks for itself.
“I told them that I heard a lot of good things about Amarillo and that I wanted a chance to come make the team,” he said. “I have heard they have always had a good hockey team. Everyone that I have talked to said they love the rink and it’s a good place to play.”
Christenson, who is in his final season of junior hockey, said he can’t wait to hit the ice in the Budweiser Bull Pen.
“Why Amarillo because their record speaks for itself,” he said. “They’ve had great success since they started here. I hear the fans are great and I can’t wait to get in front of them to play.”
As the Amarillo Bulls get set to celebrate their fifth anniversary season, one of the trademarks of their success has been the NCAA College Commitments which currently among the leaders in the North American Hockey League. Both players have their sights firmly set on playing college hockey.
“I was thinking about playing college hockey and I started to realize that it’s a realistic possibility,” Panvica said. “I would make it my goal off the ice and on the ice and do whatever it takes to make it a reality.”
“I grew up in Wisconsin so I followed and watched St. Norbert and the (Wisconsin) Badgers play,” Christensen said. “These are two great organizations and watching them play, it seemed like a great dream at the time to play college hockey. I started getting really serious about hockey in my sophomore year in high school. From there I just continue to work hard and see where I end up.”
“This is my last year of junior hockey so I would like to make the most of it. I want to put myself in the best possible spot for that. Do whatever it takes and go play college hockey wherever it may be.”
Come celebrate five years with the Amarillo Bulls this fall. A terrific way for fans to show their support is by purchasing full or partial season tickets or 10-game Flex Packs. We offer a variety of prices and seat locations and payment plans are also available. For further information on packages please call the Amarillo Bulls Office at 806-242-1122 or visit 301 South Polk in the Amarillo Building.