The Savannah Ghost Pirates announced Thursday the team has relieved Rick Bennett of his coaching duties and named assistant coach Alex Loh as interim head coach. Nick Tuzzolino will remain on the coaching staff as the club’s assistant coach.
“We want to thank Rick for his work in establishing the Ghost Pirates team from its inception,” Zawyer Sports president Bob Ohrablo said. “We look forward to Alex and Nick leading our team upward in the tough South Division.”
Loh, 39, has spent the past two seasons in Savannah as an assistant coach and was named the first assistant coach in franchise history on August 1, 2022. The Morrisville, VT, native served as the head coach of the Adirondack Thunder for three seasons from 2019 to 2022.
Loh joined the Thunder in 2015 as the club’s assistant coach before being promoted to associate coach in 2017. His first coaching job in professional hockey came in 2012 when the AHL’s Portland Pirates hired him as the club’s video coach.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity the organization has given me, and I am excited to move forward with our group,” Loh said. “Our goal is to make Ghost Pirates fans proud of our product. The support the city has given us has been phenomenal since day one, and it’s up to us to return the favor.”
Tuzzolino, 38, was hired by the Ghost Pirates on July 1, 2023, as the director of hockey development and assistant coach. The Buffalo, NY, native played 20 games for Savannah during the 2022-23 season, capping off a 510-game professional career that spanned 17 years.
Tuzzolino was selected in the seventh round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft (196th overall) by the New York Islanders. He played 383 games in the ECHL, appearing with Alaska, Wheeling, Utah, Fort Wayne, Elmira, and Savannah.
Before joining Savannah as a player, Tuzzolino coached in the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres for four seasons from 2016 to 2020.
“With our second season just past the halfway mark and plenty of games against South Division rivals, our goal is to have the Ghost Pirates competing hard and working towards a Kelly Cup playoff spot,” Ohrablo said. “There is so much Ghost Pirates fans have to look forward to.”