The Buffalo Jr. Sabres today announced several management and coaching changes in the organization, including the hiring of former Buffalo Sabres player John Tucker as head coach of the Junior 'A' team of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). Michael Peca, who previously served as the Junior A team’s coach, will remain the team’s general manager but has also added the responsibility of serving as director of hockey operations for the entire Jr. Sabres organization, which encompasses seven teams across several youth hockey age groups.
“John will be a great addition to what we have started here with youth hockey in Buffalo,” said Larry Playfair, president of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. “Michael Peca took our program to a new level and in each of his two years as head coach we made it to the second round in the OJHL playoffs. Michael and John know each other well and will work great together in their new roles. I am excited not only about what the Junior A team could do this year but what the entire Buffalo Jr. Sabres organization will do going forward.”
Tucker returns to Buffalo after a 12-year NHL career in the 1980s and 1990s, during which he played in over 650 games for the Sabres, the Washington Capitals, the New York Islanders and the Tampa Bay Lightning. After retiring as a player, Tucker coached HC Asiago in Italy for several years, winning two championships, and he also went on to found the Tampa Bay Lightning Alumni Association. Currently, Tucker is the founder and director of Xtra-Ice, an elite training academy based in Tampa Bay, Fla. Who mission is to advance professional hockey training for youth in the state of Florida.
In addition to his new management duties, Peca, who coached the Junior A team for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, will also serve as head coach of the Bantam Major Jr. Sabres team.
“My goal after retiring from playing professional hockey was to help make hockey better in Western New York and I feel this is a step in the right direction” said Peca. “I enjoyed my time as coach of the Junior A team and I’m excited for my new role within the Jr. Sabres organization as a whole. As GM of the Junior A team, I’m looking forward to keeping a day-to-day role with that squad while also having the chance to help the other six teams in the organization grow.”
Since 1975, the Buffalo Junior Sabres franchise has offered Western New York’s elite hockey players a setting to hone their skills while providing a pathway to further their hockey careers at the collegiate and professional levels. By educating and guiding young hockey players, the Buffalo Junior Sabres have launched the careers of several NHL players including Adams, Brian Gionta and Ryan Callahan. Proudly owned by the Buffalo Sabres Alumni Association, the Buffalo Junior Sabres remain committed to its foundation of educating and developing young hockey talent in Western New York and Southern Ontario.