WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — In a stunning announcement Friday evening, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins named Mike Vellucci, the 11th Head Coach in franchise history. He replaces Clark Donatelli, who abruptly resigned for personal reasons.
Vellucci, 52, joins the Penguins after a banner year with the Charlotte Checkers. He guided the Checkers to a record of 57-17-7-1 record en route to capturing not only the Calder Cup but also the A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s Coach of the Year.
The Farmington, Michigan Native spent five years in the Carolina Hurricanes organization, serving as Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations since 2014. He took over as bench boss in Charlotte prior to the 2017-18 season. In two total seasons, he compiled a record of 97-43-8-4 in a total of 152 games.
No stranger to coaching, Vellucci has 20 years of experience, predominantly in the Ontario Hockey League. Serving as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Plymouth Whalers, he guided future NHL All-Stars like James Neal, Tyler Seguin, and Vincent Trocheck.
As a player, Vellucci was drafted 131st overall in the seventh round by the Hartford Whalers in 1984. He appeared in two games for Hartford in 1987.
Thoughts: This comes as a major surprise, but on paper, the Penguins have hit a home run. Former players rave about Vellucci’s ability to develop them, which is precisely what you want in a coach at this level. It’s easy to say given the fact he’s coming off a Calder Cup season, but before Friday night, there were three open coaching positions in the league. On paper, they got the best available.
Stay tuned to this story for information as updates become available.
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