JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Icemen, ECHL affiliate of the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers and the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack, announced that the team has named Nick Luukko the team’s new Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations.
Luukko, 29, becomes the second head coach in Jacksonville Icemen history, after serving the past two years as an assistant coach with the Reading Royals. Luukko helped guide the Royals to a 37-17-6 record during the 2019-20 regular season.
“I am extremely honored to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Icemen,” said Luukko. “The passion and commitment that Andy Kaufmann and Bob Ohrablo have for building a successful franchise is extraordinary. I would like to thank the Icemen Family for providing me the opportunity to lead Jacksonville to future successful seasons and the ultimate goal of winning a Kelly Cup. I would also like to thank the Reading Royals and Kirk McDonald for giving me the opportunity to be a player, captain and assistant coach in the organization. Their support over the last six years has led me to where I am today.”
As a player, Luukko played four seasons as a defenseman with Reading totaling 87 points, the most all-time by a Royals defenseman, in 274 games. Luukko showed his leadership capabilities as he served as an alternate captain for the Royals for two seasons before being named the team’s captain during the 2018-19 season. He also made seven AHL appearances with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms during his career. Luukko won a United States Hockey League Clark Cup championship with the Dubuque Fighting Saints during the 2010-11 season.
Luukko joins the Icemen after the team’s previous head coach Jason Christie accepted an assistant coach position with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres in late July after four seasons in Jacksonville.
“We are through the roof excited to welcome an up-and-coming coach in the hockey world to our Icemen Family,” said CEO of Zawyer Sports Andy Kaufmann. “During our search, Nick’s name kept coming up in the hockey world as a strong coaching candidate. Nick is as excited about our organization as we are about him. This is the next step for us to in becoming a perennial force in the league and for our quest to bring a Kelly Cup to Jacksonville.”
A West Chester, Pennsylvania native, Luukko, was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. In addition, he played four seasons at the University of Vermont from 2011-13.