Royals Assistant Coach Nick Luukko named Jacksonville Icemen Head Coach

The Jacksonville Icemen have announced the hire of Nick Luukko as their head coach. Luukko spent the 2019-20 season as the Reading Royals’ assistant coach and played in Reading from 2015-19.

“Nick has been a consummate professional over his six years as a Royal,” Royals head coach Kirk MacDonald said. “From a rookie pro to a trusted staff member and friend, he has been an integral part of the 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 all excited to see him take the next step in his coaching career and wish him nothing but the best!”

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MacDonald was the last assistant coach of the Royals to become an ECHL head coach. He took over for former head coach Larry Courville near the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.

Underneath both MacDonald and Luukko’s lead, the Royals went 37-17-6 in the shortened 2019-20 season. They were one of the few teams to clinch a playoff spot with 80 points, good for sixth in the ECHL at the time of the campaign’s cancellation. The team was second in the North Division behind only Newfoundland.

Luukko, a West Chester, Pa. native, was honored with the Royals’ Team Defensive Player of the Year award three seasons in a row (2017-19) and was given the Team Ironman Award along with Adam Schmidt and Chris McCarthy in 2019, his final season.

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Luukko ranks third in all-time games played for the Royals with 274, behind Ryan Cruthers (278) and Olivier Labelle (298). His 25 goals and 62 assists rank him first in all-time defensive scoring for the squad with 87 points.

The 29-year-old Luukko went to the University of Vermont from 2011-2015 and recorded 8 goals and 27 assists for 35 points in 131 games. Before then, he won the Clark Cup of the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2011. He was coached by current St. Louis Blues assistant coach Jim Montgomery in Dubuque.

The former captain of the Royals was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Other than playing seven games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he spent his entire professional career with Reading.

The Royals wish Luukko the best of luck in his first head coaching position and thank him for all the seasons he spent in Reading.

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