Surrounded by a sea of friends and family in the suites of 1ST SUMMIT Arena last Saturday night, Letizia was busy celebrating his (pending) bobble head night along with his 35th birthday and his 196th win!
The youngest and most wins coach of the East Division has a lot to be thankful for this season as he closes in on a coaching milestone of 200 wins and another playoff berth just a few points out of reach.
The 2019-20 season marks Letizia’s 6th season as benchboss, and 8th season with the organization since the inaugural season in 2012. Through 6 campaigns with the Hawks, Letizia currently sits at an impressive 196-122-17-12 which includes 3 all-star team selections – one NAHL Coach of Year award – 4 post season appearances and 1 Robertson Cup trip.
“Honestly, it’s just a number,” said Letizia, 4 wins shy of his pending accomplishment. “I haven’t really thought about it at all, right now it’s about the players and the streak they’re on”.
At 8-2 in their last ten games, the Hawks are currently riding the best streak in the division.
“Our focus is on winning games, making playoffs and getting better in every situation of play” adds Letizia “whether that’s our power play, penalty kill, faceoffs or one-on-one battles, we just want to get better in every area of our game as we get closer to playoffs”
In honor of his bobble head night, Letizia had over 20 family members making the trip all the way from Chicago, including his parents and brother. “They don’t make it down often so it was nice to be able to celebrate with them” said Letizia, while jokingly adding that the delay in the bobble head shipment will end up costing him a fortune in mailing fees to Chicago!
A video slideshow chronicling Letizia’s coaching career was shown on the scoreboard before the opening faceoff. Additionally, a story in the program highlighting his on and off the ice accomplishments.
Capping off the pre-game festivities in front of a crowd of 3,142, was an emotional puck drop celebrated with his wife Alana, daughter Myla and son Niko.
“It was a special night and I really appreciate the gesture from the organization,” Letizia said. “I’m thankful for all the fans, family and friends that came out to support the team and this event”