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Matt Nicholson Added To Niagara U. Hockey Coaching Staff

NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – Niagara University hockey head coach Jason Lammers announced on Friday the hiring of Matt Nicholson as assistant coach.

Nicholson spent the past two seasons as the head coach of the Amarillo Bulls in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). No stranger to the college ranks, Nicholson is also familiar with Atlantic Hockey, having spent six seasons on the Robert Morris Colonials’ coaching staff. After beginning his coaching career at Division III powerhouse Adrian College in 2007, Nicholson was named an assistant coach at Robert Morris in 2009, spending four years in that role before being promoted to associate head coach in 2013.

“Matt is a man of outstanding character who has a passion for developing people and players,” Lammers said. “Matt’s head coaching experience, his deep knowledge of Atlantic Hockey, and his familiarity with the local Ontario region will all be tremendous assets to our team at Niagara.”

“The opportunity to join Niagara University and work alongside Coach Lammers and Andy Boschetto is something I’m looking forward to,” added Nicholson. “Having coached in Atlantic Hockey for six years with RMU, I’m well aware of the quality of the coaches, players, and teams. Every game is a battle, and the parity within the conference is really a selling point for the student-athletes.”

Nicholson brings two years of head coaching experience to the Niagara coaching staff after leading the Amarillo Bulls from 2015-17. The Bulls posted a 24-point improvement in Nicholson’s second season behind the bench in 2016-17, finishing sixth in the NAHL’s South Division and narrowly missing a spot in the league’s Robertson Cup playoffs. Amarillo also won the NAHL South Division’s Community Service Award in each of Nicholson’s two seasons with the club. Four Bulls secured spots on NCAA Division I rosters during Nicholson’s tenure.

Prior to Amarillo, Nicholson coached six seasons with the Robert Morris University Colonials from 2009-15, including the final two as associate head coach under head coach Derek Schooley. Nicholson helped the Colonials progress from a 10-win team in 2009-10 to a program-record 24 wins in 2014-15. The 2013-14 season saw Robert Morris claim the first Atlantic Hockey Tournament championship and first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history, finishing with an overall record of 19-18-5. In Nicholson’s final season with Robert Morris in 2014-15, the Colonials captured the Atlantic Hockey regular-season title with the best record in program history at 24-8-5. Nicholson directed the Robert Morris power-play unit that ranked eighth in the NCAA during the 2014-15 season.

In his six-year span with the Colonials, Nicholson directed recruiting and student-athlete evaluation as Robert Morris produced 33 players that went on to sign professional contracts, including 10 that signed American Hockey League (AHL) deals. The Colonials also excelled in the classroom during Nicholson’s tenure. The team attained a perfect Academic Progress Rate (APR) of 1,000 from the NCAA in 2013, and the 2013-14 Robert Morris team compiled an overall GPA of 3.69.

Nicholson’s coaching career began as an assistant coach at Adrian College, an NCAA Division III program in Adrian, Michigan. He coached with Adrian during the program’s first two seasons from 2007-09 under current Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty. In that time, the Bulldogs amassed a two-year record of 53-4-1, winning the Midwest Collegiate Hockey Association (MCHA) regular-season title and Harris Cup tournament title as conference champions both seasons. The Bulldogs’ 26-3 record in their inaugural season in 2007-08 set the NCAA’s single-season record for wins by a first-year program. Nicholson created position-specific training for both forwards and defensemen and coordinated the Bulldogs’ strength and conditioning program.

Nicholson played both defense and left wing during his four-year collegiate career with the Colgate Raiders, playing 123 games from 2000-04 and scoring two goals and 10 assists. After graduating from Colgate, Nicholson attended the 2004 rookie camp of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Phoenix Coyotes. He went on to play two seasons of professional hockey in the Central Hockey League (CHL), scoring 11 points (3+8) in 31 games with the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs in the 2004-05 season and eight points (1+7) in 20 games during the 2005-06 campaign with the Youngstown Steelhounds. Nicholson’s father, Paul, played 62 NHL games with the Washington Capitals from 1974-77.

A native of nearby London, Ontario, Nicholson is a 2004 graduate of Colgate University, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in education. He continued his education at Robert Morris University, where he graduated in 2011 with a Master’s degree in instructional leadership and decision making.

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