Michigan native joins Spirit bench for 2019-20 season
SAGINAW, MI – The Saginaw Spirit proudly announced Friday the hiring of Jared Nightingale (@JNighty) as the team’s Associate Coach.
“Jared came highly recommended and we are excited to add him to the coaching staff, said Head Coach Chris Lazary. “Jared is a ‘hockey guy’ through and through. When I spoke to Jared there was instant chemistry. We share the belief that you must not only develop players on the ice, but off the ice into good human beings. Jared’s longevity in the game shows he understands the value of hard work.”
The 36-year-old Jackson, Michigan native was previously an assistant coach for the United States Under-17 National Team Development Program and the United States Under-17 National Team, and two years ago, broke into coaching with the Omaha Lancers in the United States Hockey League.
“I am extremely excited to become a member of the Spirit family, said Nightingale. “I would like to thank ownership, Dave Drinkill, Brian Prout, and Chris Lazary for this opportunity to coach in major junior hockey. I spent my entire hockey career around players that came from the OHL, and had nothing but respect for them. I think the league itself, the pro schedule, and the similarities to the National Hockey League game is what gravitated me to this position. I am looking forward to meeting the players and getting to work.”
Nightingale grew up playing hockey in Cheboygan and moved to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan in 10th grade to play midget and eventually junior hockey for the Soo Indians. It was there that Nightingale discovered the Ontario Hockey League, frequently taking trip across the border to watch the likes of Joe Thornton, Trevor Daley, and Jeff Carter play for the Greyhounds.
The youngest of three, Jared had originally committed to play college hockey for Lake Superior State University, where he would play alongside eldest Jason, and middle brother Adam. Due to a coaching change at Lake Superior State, then Northern Michigan head coach Rick Comley recruited Jared and Adam to Michigan State University. Comley had accepted the head coaching job following the retirement of longtime MSU hockey coach Ron Mason.
Jared graduated from Michigan State in 2006 with a criminal justice degree, but had not been selected in the NHL Draft. Following the 2005-06 college season, Jared signed his first pro contract with the Springfield Falcons in the American Hockey League.
Over a 13-year professional hockey career, Nightingale played for more than 15 different teams in 674 professional games between the American Hockey League (472) and the ECHL (202).
Known for his abrasive style on the ice, Nightingale accumulated 1,534 penalty minutes during his professional career.
Nightingale will join Lazary behind the bench for the 2019-20 season, along with an Assistant Coach to be a named at a later date.