From JacksonvilleIcemen.com and R.V. Baugus
The Jacksonville Icemen, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, are pleased to announce today that the team has named Nick Luukko as the team’s new Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations.
If the name is familiar, Nick is the son of venue management icon Peter Luukko, who currently serves as executive chairman with the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League and serves on their Board of Governors. Luukko is most known in the industry having served as president and chief operating officer of Comcast Spectacor, Luukko was the long-serving president of the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL, a position he held until December 2013. In February 2014, Luukko accepted a position on the board of Pointstreaks, a sports technology company. He then joined the Florida Panthers as executive chairman in February 2015.
Nick 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 (ECHL). Luukko helped guide the Royals to an impressive 37-17-6 record during the 2019-20 regular season.
“I am extremely honored to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Icemen,” Luukko said. “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 MacDonald 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. 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 2018-2019 season. He also made seven American Hockey League (AHL) appearances with the Leigh Valley Phantoms. during his career. Luukko won Clark Cup Championship with the Dubuque Fighting Saints during the 2010-2011 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.”
The West Chester, PA resident, 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 2011-2013.
“Nick has been a consummate professional over his six years as a Royal,” said Reading Royals Head Coach Kirk MacDonald. “From a rookie pro player to a trusted staff member and friend, he has been integral part of our organization on and off the ice. His detailed knowledge of the game and ability to relate to players will serve him well in his new role as head coach. We are excited to see him take the next step in his coaching career, and wish him nothing but the best!”