The Johnstown Tomahawks have seen a variety of changes this offseason, from the arrival of new players to becoming part of the new East Division. One of those changes is behind the bench, where Nick Shackford will serve as the Tomahawks new assistant coach.
A native of Burke, Va., Shackford has spent the last six years coaching within the NAHL, including last season with the now defunct Keystone Ice Miners.
During training camp, Shackford has been actively assisting second-year head coach Mike Letizia with team practice plans, individual player development and video breakdown.
“Nick brings a passion and work ethic to the team that hasn’t been seen before. He is very committed and detailed which is rubbing off on the players and coaches. We also think alike, which makes us collaborate well in terms of plays and player development,” said Letizia.
Team Captain Logan Hudson has also seen the benefits of having Shackford join the coaching staff.
“Coach Nick is very energetic and positive. He also likes the physical game which benefits our team because we are older and bigger,” said Hudson.
Shackford will get his first taste of game experience as Tomahawks assistant coach, when the team opens up pre-season play next Tuesday (Sept. 8) against the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. The Tomahawks close out the pre-season with a home-and-home series against the Aston Rebels.
The Tomahawks visit the Rebels Friday Sept. 11 before welcoming them to Kirk Nevin Ice Arena in Greensburg the following night for a 7 p.m. contest. The Sept. 12 game will double as a fundraiser for the Westmoreland Hockey Association. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door or through Westmoreland Eagles players.