Jason Spence, originally from Ellershouse, Hants County, was selected the head coach of the Johnstown Tomahawks, a team playing its inaugural season in the North American Hockey League. (Submitted photo)
Jason Spence is a local success story.
Prior to becoming a coach in 2012, the left-winger played professional hockey for 10 seasons and was always a fan-favourite known for his physical style of play.
The Ellershouse native, son of Nathaniel and Brenda Spence, grew up playing through the minor hockey ranks in Windsor-West Hants and also with the Windsor Royals before being scouted for his toughness.
He went on to play two seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before moving on to play in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) with the Johnstown Chiefs and Las Vegas Wranglers. His time in the American Hockey League included stints with the Saint John Flames, San Antonio Rampage, and Lowell Lock Monsters. He also spent two seasons in the Central Hockey League (CHL) with the Laredo Bucks and Youngstown Steelhounds.
Spence left Johnstown in 2010 to serve two seasons as an assistant coach for the ECHL's Greenville Road Warriors, which is where the Johnstown team moved. He had a myriad of responsibilities, including editing game video and leading video review presentations for the players; assisting with penalty kill and power play systems; and overseeing defensemen and defensive zone coverage as well as goaltender instruction. He also led extensive scouting and recruiting efforts for Greenville. Spence also served as an assistant coach with the Johnstown Chiefs, with whom he played 262 regular-season games over seven seasons, during the 2009-10 season.
Throughout his professional career, Spence proved to be a leader on the ice, serving as both a captain and assistant captain.
Spence took on his first head coach role when he was asked to guide the Johnstown Tomahawks in their inaugural season in the North American Hockey League in 2012.
The NAHL is the only Tier II Junior A Hockey League in the United States where players have to be under 20 years of age as of Dec. 31 of their current year of competition.
The teams are spread out across the United States, with teams located in places such as Kenai, Arkansas; Fairbanks, Alaska; Fresno, California; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; and Wenatchee, Washington.
Spence’s club is playing exceptionally well in his first season as head coach. The Tomahawks are holding down a record of 14-7-6 for 34 points and fourth place in their division.
Spence is a committed member of the hockey community, participating in multiple charity events and helping with youth development camps for players of all ages and skill levels. He brings a strong work ethic and passion for the game to the Tomahawks organization.
Spence currently resides in Southmont, Pennsylvania with his wife, Marcey. The couple was married in Windsor a few summers ago.