Former NHL player joins Lions hockey coaching staff

Andreas Karlsson
Andreas Karlsson

York University Lions men’s hockey head coach Chris Dennis announced on Sept. 8 the hiring of former National Hockey League (NHL) player Andreas Karlsson to the Lions coaching staff for the 2015-16 season.

In addition, John Ceci has been added as a goalie consultant and Joe D’Urzo will serve as a defensive skills consultant this season.

Andreas Karlsson
Andreas Karlsson

“We are extremely lucky to be able to add someone with Andreas’ knowledge and experience,” said Dennis. “He is a terrific coach and person, and I know we will all learn a lot from him.”

Karlsson spent 19 seasons as a professional hockey player, including five in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning. A Swedish centre drafted in the sixth round (148th overall) by the Calgary Flames in 1993, he amassed 72 points in 264 games. He also spent significant time in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Chicago Wolves, winning the Calder Cup as league champions in 2002.

In his native Sweden, he played 12 seasons in the Swedish Elite League before and after his time in North America, most recently with Frolunda from 2008-11. He was also on the Swedish team that won the gold medal at the world championships in 2006.

Since retiring as a player, Karlsson has been a coach with Frolunda’s J20 super elite team, including the past three years as the squad’s head coach. In 2013 and 2014, he led the team to first place overall in the regular season and a playoff semifinal appearance.

Ceci has been involved in the sport of hockey for over 20 years, as both a player and a coach. His playing experience includes playing in the OJHL, OHL and CIS, and professionally in the ECHL (Fresno, Las Vegas), CHL (Laredo), IHL (Muskegon) and AHL (Grand Rapids). He won the Ontario Hockey League championship in 2000 with the Ottawa 67’s and went on to play varsity hockey with the Acadia Axemen for four years, where he graduated with a bachelor of business administration degree. During his years at Acadia, he won the AUS championship in 2005 and was a member of the Canadian team that won the gold medal at the 2006 World University Games in Turin, Italy.

He has been the goalie coach with the Aurora Tigers in the OJHL since 2010, and in 2011 he served the same role with Team Canada’s U20 squad for the 3 Nations Tournament in Finland.

D’Urzo is a former professional hockey player, having spent time in the Italian Seria A League for multiple seasons. Prior to playing in Europe, he enjoyed four successful years playing Division 1 NCAA hockey at Canisius College on an athletic scholarship. During both his NCAA and European professional years, he was awarded the team’s defenceman of the year award for three consecutive seasons.

Before turning professional, D’Urzo played for the Bramalea Blues of the OPJHL, a team that became Central Ontario champions and Royal Bank Cup finalists. Since stopping his playing career in 2006, he has been coaching high-level youth, university and professional players throughout North America.

The Lions men’s hockey team will begin the 2015-16 OUA regular season on Saturday, Oct. 10, in Waterloo, Ont., against the Laurier Golden Hawks. They will make their home debut at Canlan Ice Sports on Friday, Oct. 23, against the Laurentian Voyageurs.