Icemen hire Nick Luukko as new head coach

Nick Luukko is the new head coach of the Jacksonville Icemen. (Jacksonville Icemen, Jacksonville Icemen)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Icemen have a new head coach.

Nick Luukko was named the team’s second head coach on Tuesday afternoon and will guide the Icemen into a new era of hockey on the First Coast. In addition to head coach, Luukko will also have the title of director of hockey operations.

Luukko replaces Jason Christie, who resigned to take an assistant coaching position with the Buffalo Sabres late last month. The 29-year-old is just the second head coach in Icemen history.

He spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Reading Royals in the ECHL.

“We are through the roof excited to welcome an up-and-coming coach in the hockey world to our Icemen Family,” CEO of Zawyer Sports Andy Kaufmann said in a release.

“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.”

It’s been a positive offseason for the Icemen. The team announced a new affiliation with the New York Rangers in the NHL and the American Hockey League’s Hartford Wolf Pack on June 29. The team is also transforming the Jacksonville Ice and Sportsplex into the Icemen Igloo, which will serve as the hub for all things hockey in Jacksonville. It comes at a cost of $18.5 million.

The Icemen’s home opener this season comes on Nov. 6 against the South Carolina Stingrays.

“I am extremely honored to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Icemen,” Luukko said in a release.

“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.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.