JOHNSTOWN, PA – In a frigid January 2018 tilt on a crisp outdoor sheet at the Navesink Country Club, John Gelatt’s legacy at St. John Vianney was cemented when he led the Lancers to a 5-2 victory over parochial rival and perennial state power Christian Brothers Academy.
Later that year St. John Vianney regained its prominence as a top Shore Conference program with a Handchen Cup finals win over Wall Township, in which Gelatt scored twice and assisted on four other goals. The Middletown, NJ native would cap his Lancers career with 143 points (60g, 83a).
Two years later, following consecutive seasons at the prep level with Trinity-Pawling School (N.Y.), Gelatt is set to skate at the major junior ranks, signing a tender contract with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
“John is a well-rounded hard-nosed player that has a load of skill as well,” Tomahawks Head Coach Mike Letizia said in a media release. “He has a nose for the net, great ice awareness, and wins his battles. John has the ability to deliver contact, but also is great at playing through contact. The combination of skill and grit that John possesses is the valuable asset that we regard highly in Johnstown.”
According to Letizia, Gelatt was signed in February, and due to join the Tomahawks as part of the NAHL’s roster expansion. However, that opportunity was lost once the league indefinitely postponed play due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We were hoping he would be able to join us after his seasons with the (North Jersey Avalanche) and (Trinity Pawling) concluded,” Letizia added. “Unfortunately, with everything that went on, he could not help his team compete for a National Championship, and could not help us in our pursuit of a Robertson Cup as the 19-20 season was cut short.”
The Middletown, NJ native spent part of his youth career as a member of the Mercer Chiefs, New Jersey Colonials, before suiting for the North Jersey Avalanche in 2019-2020, a stint in which he registered 34 points (20g, 14a) in 29 games. Gelatt also served as an assistant captain for Trinity-Pawling a season ago, and led The Pride in scoring with 42 points (18g, 24a).
Gelatt is the second North Jersey Avalanche 18U AAA skater to ink a deal with the Tomahawks this year, following the way of Staten Island, NY skater Jason Ahearn, who signed a tender contract after logging 49 points (29g, 20a) in 33 games this past season.
Another top member of that Avalanche club, Anthony Calafiore, has also garnered the attention of the NAHL, after the New Jersey Junior Titans selected the winger with their top pick in the June supplemental draft.
Gelatt’s older brothers, Tim and Mike both competed in the NAHL, the former with Wilkes Barre/Scranton Knights, and the latter with the New Jersey Junior Titans and the Knights. In 2019-20, Tim completed his third season with the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (NCAA Div. III), while Mike finished up his second year with Skidmore College (NCAA Div. III). Both played their high school hockey with St. John Vianney.