ECHL: An Interview With Nico Blachman

Nico Blachman is a 25-year-old forward who got started playing hockey at a young age in the Sunshine State, where hockey has continued to grow over the years, “I started playing roller hockey when I was younger in Hollywood, Florida, and then the roller hockey rink shut down and my dad told me it’s either a different sport or ice hockey now, and I started playing ice hockey at Pines Ice Arena” said Blachman. The Florida native has bounced around the ECHL since he began playing in the league during the 2020-21 season, as he’s spent time with the Florida Everblades, South Carolina Stingrays, Allen Americans, Savannah Ghost Pirates, Norfolk Admirals, and Kalamazoo Wings before recently joining the Thunder.

Cody Conine/InsideTheRink

Blachman has always been known for being a guy who isn’t afraid to drop the gloves, step up for his teammates, or provide a momentum shift when needed. Over the last few years, there have been topics of taking fighting out of the game, but ECHL Commissioner Ryan Crelin doesn’t see that happening and doesn’t have any plans of taking fighting out of the game, and when asked about it, Blachman talked about how hockey would be more dangerous without fighting, “I think it’s huge, I think there would be a lot more cheap shots without it, and I also think it’s a way of allowing us to police the game, I think a lot of calls get missed by the referees, and those guys have to answer the bell for it, to be honest, I think taking fighting out of hockey will make it a lot more dangerous” said Blachman. The 25-year-old forward has racked up 416 PIM in just 82 games in the ECHL, 265 of them which came last season, which was the most in the ECHL, “I play a hard-nosed game everyone knows that, I think the refs are kinda looking for me, and at this point in my career, I play a rough game, and I expect to be called sometimes, but as long as I’m not putting the team down I’m happy,” said Blachman when asked about the “feat.” I asked Blachman if, over his career, there is one fight that is memorable to him, and he mentioned his bout with Sean Leonard, who currently plays for the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs of the SPHL, “I think when I fought Sean Leonard, he’s the only other guy I’ve fought that was smaller than me, so that was nice to go against a guy that was smaller than me and to feed him his lunch was nice” said Blachman

The Adirondack Thunder lost Yanick Turcotte in early November, and Blachman and Turcotte have always been buddies, which was one of the factors that led Blachman to Glens Falls, “Ya, he’s been awesome to me. I have a couple of good friends, Like Skeoch, on the team and Boko Imama, but Turcotte’s a big one of the guys who do this role, and we stick together through the ups and downs of this role, and he’s helped me a lot, he’s a veteran and he’s a bit older than me and he knows how to do it really well, and I’ve learned a ton for Turks {Turcotte} from training together and taking on a day to day basis” said Blachman. He’s only played three games at the Cool Insuring Arena, and he dropped the gloves in his first two games in Glens Falls as well but said this has been his favorite place to play, “This one, for sure, Section N gets me going, it’s an old school barn; it’s exactly what fires up my type of game, and I think this one takes the cake for sure”

Armand Klisivitch

Inside The Rink ECHL Manager | Senior Editor Credentialed Reporter for the Adirondack Thunder & Worcester Railers.

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