BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Academy of Hockey is pleased to welcome former Buffalo Sabre Matt Ellis to its coaching staff, along with Amherst native and Rochester Americans alumnus Nick Tuzzolino, and Tristan Musser.
Ellis joins the Academy after playing 58 games for the Rochester Americans last season. The Ontario native retired this summer following a 14-year professional career that included 356 games in the NHL. Ellis skated for the Sabres in parts of seven seasons, scoring 18 goals and 43 points in 302 games. Throughout his career, Ellis played a leadership role in the Sabres developmental system, serving as captain of the Sabres AHL affiliate in three seasons in both Rochester and Portland. Upon being claimed by the Sabres in 2008, Ellis and his family have made Western New York their permanent home and have resided in Clarence for the past eight years.
“Beginning a second career in hockey seems like a natural fit for me,” Ellis said. “Over the last two years, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for the Academy of Hockey through involving my two sons in its programming, watching its students advance to higher levels of play, and through training with the Academy myself. I am extremely excited to do my part in helping players maximize their athletic ability while gaining my first coaching experience and remaining a part of the Pegula Sports and Entertainment family.”
Through the final two years of his professional playing career, Ellis turned to the Academy to facilitate the on-ice portion of his offseason training regimen, working heavily with Academy director Kevyn Adams and skating development coach Mike Ansell.
“As a player, Matt Ellis’s hard-working style exemplified everything we want in an Academy coach,” Adams said. “Matt’s professional experience, combined with his glowing reputation as a strong leader and community advocate, make him a perfect coach to add to our staff. The strength of our programs has been increased with the addition of Matt Ellis.”
Amherst native Nick Tuzzolino joins the Academy on the heels of a nine-year professional career in the AHL, ECHL and IHL, which included 39 games with the Rochester Americans. Tuzzolino grew up in East Amherst and played locally for the Buffalo Lightning (now Jr. Sabres), Amherst Knights and Buffalo Regals. Tristan Musser has been working in a part-time capacity since 2014. A graduate of Adrian College, Musser worked the last two seasons with the Canisius College hockey program as its graduate student manager.