PORTLAND, Maine – The Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League announced that they have hired former ECHL coach Mike LaZazzera as an assistant coach.
LaZazzera becomes the eighth AHL assistant coach with an ECHL background, joining former Johnstown coach Scott Allen, who is an assistant coach with Omaha; former Macon and Richmond head coach Gord Dineen, who is assistant coach and director of hockey operations for San Antonio; former Trenton assistant coach Kjell Samuelsson, who is an assistant coach with Philadelphia; former Mobile assistant coach Matt Shaw, who is an assistant with Houston; former Columbia head coach Scott White, who is now director of hockey operations for Iowa; former Mississippi coach Bob Woods, who is an assistant coach with Hershey; and former Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Trenton player Rick Kowalsky, who is an assistant coach with Norfolk.
There are eight former ECHL coaches who are AHL head coaches – former Richmond and Virginia coach Dave Allison, who is head coach of Iowa; former Charlotte assistant coach David Baseggio, who is head coach of Bridgeport; former Mississippi coach Bruce Boudreau, who is head coach of Hershey; former Roanoke coach Scott Gordon, who is head coach of Providence; former Atlantic City and Trenton head coach Mike Haviland, who is head coach of Norfolk; former Dayton coach Greg Ireland, who is head coach of Grand Rapids; former Toledo coach Claude Noel, who is head coach of Milwaukee; and former Roanoke Valley coach Roy Sommer, who is head coach of Cleveland.
The Premier “AA” Hockey League, the ECHL has affiliations with 24 of the 30 teams in the National Hockey League and there have been 256 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL. The ECHL had affiliations with 21 of the 27 teams in the American Hockey League and for the past 16 years, there has been an ECHL player on the Calder Cup Champion.
LaZazzera was an assistant coach for Greensboro in 1994-95 and for Reading in 2002-03. He worked as an assistant coach for Jacksonville when it advanced to the Riley Cup Finals in 1995-96 before taking over as head coach in 1996-97. He has also coached in the International Hockey League and the Southeast Hockey League as well as at his alma mater, Springfield College.