Ackerman, 51, of East Windsor is one of nine people, including the shooter, killed in the massacre in Manchester on Tuesday.
Ackerman grew up in Enfield and played had baseball and hockey and was also a fan of UConn's sports teams, Norwood told the Courant.
On Tuesday, friends told the Courant that Ackerman was a tough, authoritative and well-respected man.
"He didn't take crap from anyone," Scott Marek, owner of Marek Jewelers in Enfield and a friend of Ackerman's, told the newspaper.
But, friends said, he also had a softer, fun side at times.