NOJHL announces ownership change in Cochrane

SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League and its board of governors announced Thursday evening it has formally ratified the transfer of the Cochrane Crunch franchise from Ryan and Katherine Leonard to Tom Nickolau.

“The NOJHL welcomes Tom Nickolau to the league and we are confident his efforts will bode well for Cochrane, both on and off the ice,” stated commissioner Robert Mazzuca.

“Competition in the NOJHL East has been tremendous the past few years and we expect much the same, right across the league, when play returns,” added Mazzuca.

A Toronto native, Nickolau has an extensive background in the game featuring over 20 years of experience in coaching, developing and promoting players to the next level.

As a forward, he spent three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with the Guelph Platers where he was a member of their 1986 OHL championship and Memorial Cup-winning side.

Nickolau was also selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1984 NHL Draft.

After his junior career, he went on to compete in the OUA at Ryerson University in Toronto where the center produced at nearly a point-per-game clip.

“I’d like to personally thank the NOJHL, its board, and commissioner Mazzuca for their guidance and support in welcoming me to the league,” offered Nickolau.

“Cochrane has a long and storied history in hockey, with an excellent venue in the Tim Horton Events Centre. I’m really looking forward to getting up there, being part of the community, with it’s dedicated fans and corporate partners as we look to build a solid program that will be among the elite in the highly-competitive NOJHL,” summarized the new owner, who will also serve as team president, head coach and general manager of the club.

For more information on the Crunch, visit their website at

“The NOJHL would also like to convey our sincere gratitude and thanks to Ryan and Katherine Leonard for their contributions over the past number of years in both Cochrane and Elliot Lake,” said Mazzuca.

“We wish them the best of luck in all their future endeavours.”