The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Philadelphia Flyers, announced former defenseman and assistant coach Nick Luukko as the 2024 Wall of Honor selection. The induction ceremony, presented by V&M Towing, will take place on Friday, March 8, prior to the opening face-off (7 p.m.) of the Royals’ matchup against the Norfolk Admirals at Santander Arena in Reading.
“I’m honored to be inducted into the Royals Wall of Fame,” commented Luukko, who currently serves as Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Jacksonville Icemen. “The memories and friendships I’ve made from my six years in Reading will last a lifetime. I’m excited to be back in Reading on March 8 to celebrate with friends, family, and the fans.”
Luukko, a West Chester native, ranks third in all-time games played for the Royals with 274, behind Ryan Cruthers (278) and Olivier Labelle (298). His 25 goals and 62 assists rank him first in all-time defensive scoring for the franchise with 87 points. Luukko was honored with the Royals’ Team Defensive Player of the Year award three seasons in a row (2017-19) and was given the Team Ironman Award along with Adam Schmidt and Chris McCarthy in 2019, his final season.
After playing for the Royals from 2015-19, Luukko spent the 2019-20 season as the Reading Royals’ assistant coach under former head coach Kirk MacDonald. Underneath both MacDonald and Luukko’s lead, the Royals went 37-17-6 in the shortened 2019-20 season. They were one of the few teams to clinch a playoff spot with 80 points, good for sixth in the ECHL at the time of the campaign’s cancellation. The team was second in the North Division behind only Newfoundland that season.
Luukko went to the University of Vermont from 2011-2015 and recorded eight goals and 27 assists for 35 points in 131 games. Before then, he won the Clark Cup of the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2011.
The former captain of the Royals was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Other than playing seven games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he spent his entire professional career with Reading.
The Wall of Honor project was undertaken to recognize persons who have made distinct contributions to the success of the Royals’ organization. Inductees are honored in a permanent display located on the concourse of Santander Arena. Luukko will be the 18th inductee into the Wall of Honor, which consists of former General Manager Gordon Kaye, Athletic Trainer Brian Grogesky, Equipment Manager Pat Noecker, broadcasters Mark Thompson and Pat Richards, the ‘Ten Year Season Ticket Holders,’ as well as former teammates of Luukko and player greats in franchise history, including Ryan Cruthers, Jon Francisco, Cody Rudkowsky, Reagan Rome, Jonathan Quick, Terry Denike, Ryan Flynn, Chris Bala, Yannick Tifu, Malcolm MacMillan, and Olivier Labelle.
Luukko’s plaque on the Wall of Honor concourse display will read as follows:
A consummate professional whose career as a Royal featured time on both sides of the player’s bench, Nick Luukko stands as one of the all-time greats to represent the franchise as both player and coach. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Luukko played four seasons for the Royals (2015-19), where he set franchise records among defensemen in points (87) and games played (274). A sixth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Luukko’s total number of games played ranks third all-time in franchise history in which he earned the honor as the Royals’ Team Defensive Player of the Year award three seasons in a row (2017-19). For his unwavering leadership and distinct competitiveness, Luukko was a recipient of the Team Ironman Award in 2019 and bestowed the “C” on his sweater as Team Captain in 2018-19, following two seasons as an alternate captain. After his playing career, Luukko served as an assistant coach for the Royals under Kirk MacDonald during the shortened 2019-20 season. Outside of his statistics and accolades, what defined Luukko was his infectious drive to compete along with being a quiet and constant example of a true leader. Luukko embodies the tradition of excellence that Reading has stood by for 22 seasons and cements him into the franchise’s prestigious Wall of Honor.
To celebrate Luukko’s career with the Royals and order tickets to the Wall of Honor game, visit https://bit.ly/WOHTix24.
Royals365 Members will have the opportunity for a pre-game Meet and Greet with Luukko on Wall of Honor Night from 5-5:45 p.m. Details can be found on your Royals365 Account Manager.
For questions on the Royals 365 Meet and Greet, contact Dallan Yoh ([email protected]).
The Reading Royals, proud affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers and Lehigh Valley Phantoms, are in their 22nd season in the ECHL. They won their first Kelly Cup championship in 2013 and have clinched playoff berths in 12 of the previous 13 seasons. They are five-time division champions and were the 2021-22 Eastern Conference champions. The Berks County Convention Center Authority (BCCCA), founded in 1996, owns the Royals and oversees operations at Santander Arena.