February 27, 2013

The Staff on the Ice- Mike Letizia

Part 1: Whitney Pappas
Part 2: Ian O'Brien

Mike Letizia is the Johnstown Tomahawks' current assistant coach  beside head coach, Jason Spence. Along with having all the responsibilities an assistant coach has in the game of hockey, Letizia also oversee player development and video sessions. This was the press release the Tomahawks sent out via juniorhockey.com before the start of the season.

Before being named to the Tomahawks' coaching staff, Letizia, had a short but good career in the game of hockey. He began in juniors, playing for OHL's, Plymouth Whalers. Letizia was a solid defensman from the start of his first season. In 2002-2003 he played 60 games for the Whalers where he registered, two goals, seven assists, and nine points. He also had an incredible on ice rating of +27.

Former Johnstown Chiefs' goaltender, Ryan Nie, and NHLers Chris Thorburn and Tim Setito were also on the 02-03 Whalers team.

In the 2003-2004 season Letizia saw his point total rise from the previous year. In 60 games he scored, four goals, had twelve assists, and sixteen points. Once again he was a plus player, having a +7 rating. In nine playoff games that season he scored four points.

Former Johnstown Chiefs' Defensmen, Mike Knight, and NHLers James Wisniewski, John Mitchell, and Penguins forward James Neal where teammates of Letizia that season.

2004-2005 season once again saw Letizia's point numbers go up from the season before. This time in 61 regular season games, Mike was able to score, six goals, seventeen assists, and twenty-three points. He was a -1 rating. This is the only time in his career he would be a minus.

2005-2006 would be Letizia's last season of juniors and his last season playing for the Plymouth Wahlers. He once again continued to improve his game, this time seeing action in a career high 66 games, scoring thirteen goals, twenty two assists, and thirty five points. He was able to get back on track in the plus/minus rating with a +1.

During his playing career he wasn't much of a fighter. In fact he only had five fights total. One of those fights was vs Matthew Bragg of the Barrie Colts, in a mini brawl. Here's the video:


At the conclusion of the OHL season, Letizia signed with the UHL's Rockford IceHogs to join them in their hunt for the Colonial Cup. He appeared in nine playoff games scoring, one goal, assisting on two others, for three points.

The following season, 2006-2007, he rejoined the IceHogs for a full season. It was the only full (pro) season Letizia played before retiring from hockey (at least playing hockey.) In 64 games of his rookie season he scored one goal, assisted on fifth teen others, and had sixteen points. He also finished with a +16 rating.  At the conclusion of the season he was named "Rookie of the Year".

In 13 playoff games, Letizia scored one goal for one point, in a playoff hunt that ended with Rockford being crowned the UHL Colonial Cup Champions.

For those fan's of the Johnstown Chiefs, Rockford was coached by former Elmira Jackals coach, Steve Martinson. Players on the championship roster were, former Chiefs' Jason Notermann, Jackals' Chaz Johnson and Benoit Doucet, and Greenville Road Warriors' TJ Reynolds.

Mike Letizia is a valuable person on the Tomahawks' staff as he brings the knowledge of what it's like to play junior hockey at a high level, and he knows what it takes to win a championship. These two factors will prove to be huge assets for the Johnstown organization as they try and bring a championship to the city of Johnstown Pa.

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