Mike Letizia will be behind the bench as the Tomahawks head coach for his third season. Letizia, a Chicago native, served as the team’s assistant coach during the team’s first two seasons. Mike was an active member of the Johnstown hockey community for the past several years as a coach for various local teams prior to joining the Tomahawks. During his first season as head coach, six Tomahawks made committments to NCAA Division 1 programs, and seven players will be playing at the NCAA Division 3 level. In addition, the Tomahawks’ first ever NHL Draft pick, goaltender Ryan Bednard, was a member of the team. In his second season as head coach, the Tomahawks set franchise highs for points, wins, and goals scored. In addition, the team captured its first playoff series victory in team history. A team record 17 NCAA commitments were also a major highlight of coach Letizia’s second season as head coach.
As a junior player, Letizia spent four seasons in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers after being selected in the fourth round of the 2002 OHL Draft. He served as one of the team captains for two seasons. The defenseman signed his first professional contract with the Rockford Icehogs of the former United Hockey League. During his time there, Letizia earned a nomination for Rookie of the Year and won a Colonial Cup Championship in 2007.
Letizia currently resides in Somerset, Pa. with his wife Alana, and their daughter Myla.
Assistant coach Nick Shackford is in his second season with the Tomahawks after recently serving as the assistant coach and director of player personnel for the now defunct Keystone Ice Miners of the North American Hockey League.
Coach Shackford’s seven years of NAHL coaching and hockey operations experience include one year with the New Mexico Mustangs, two years with the Kenai River Brown Bears, and two years with the Port Huron Fighting Falcons / Keystone Ice Miners franchise.
A native of Burke, Virginia, Shackford moved away from home at 15 years old to play at Berkshire Prep School in Sheffield, Massachusetts. After graduating, he played Junior A hockey for three seasons in the now dormant Eastern Junior Hockey League with the Baystate Breakers, in which he served as team captain his final season. During his collegiate career, he played NCAA DIII hockey for Cortland State and Saint Anslems College.
ASSISTANT TO HOCKEY OPERATIONS
Mario is in his first season with the Tomahawks. As the Assistant to Hockey Operations, Mario assists the team with all aspects of hockey operations, such as video analysis, analytics, and scouting. Prior to working for the Tomahawks, Mario worked as an occasional volunteer with the North Bay Battalion and Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, was the head scout of the now defunct Lincoln Mavericks of the GMHL, and served as the assistant general manager of the House O’ Hockey Mallers, formerly of the NCPHL. In addition to working for the Tomahawks, Mario is also an associate recruiter for Slippery Rock University’s hockey team. Mario is a native of Cheswick, PA and is a junior in high school.
Dave Dunkleberger is the team’s equipment manager. A Johnstown native, “Dunk” has worked his way up from being an equipment assistant with the former Johnstown Chiefs to becoming one of the most respected people in the North American Hockey League for the dedicated service he provides to the Tomahawks as well as other members of the league serving as the Head Equipment manager of the NAHL’s Top Prospects event for the past several years. In addition, Dave routinely assists the Pittsburgh Penguins during his available time. A vital member to the hockey club, Dunk’s contributions go far and above what is asked of him providing a first class operation for players and staff.
Equipment Support Staff
Off-Ice Medical and Support Staff
Rob Kerns– West Coast
Dave Kosick– Pittsburgh/Mid-American Area
Yuri Krivokhija– Pittsburgh/Mid-American Area
Joe Letizia– Chicago Area
Rex Trott– Michigan Area/NA3HL
John Vigilante– Detroit Area