One coach out, a new coach in. The Carolina Hurricanes have announced that they have named Mike Vellucci as the Charlotte Checkers head coach. Vellucci has served as assistant general manager of the Hurricanes for four seasons and will continue in that role along with his new responsibilities in Charlotte. The move comes just minutes after the Chicago Blackhawks named former Checkers coach Ulf Samuelsson as their new assistant coach.
Vellucci is an experienced coach of young players as he was head coach of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League for 13 seasons. He served as coach from 2001-2014, guiding the team to ten postseason appearances including winning it all in 2006-07.
Vellucci will take the reigns of a young Checkers team fresh off its first playoff berth in three seasons. The team will add even more talent with additional prospects expected to join the club and a solidified solution in net as goaltender Tom McCollum proved he was the club’s number one goalie.
Below is the Hurricanes press release regarding Vellucci:
RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has hired Mike Vellucci as the head coach of their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers. Vellucci, who is in his fourth season as assistant general manager for the Hurricanes, will also continue to serve in that role.
“Mike has more than 20 years of coaching experience, including more than 800 games as a head coach in the Ontario League,” said Francis. “He is excited to get back behind the bench and we appreciate his willingness to take on this additional responsibility.”
Vellucci, 50, joined the Hurricanes in April 2014 after 14 seasons with the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers, serving as Head Coach and General Manager for the majority of that time. The Farmington, MI, native led Plymouth to a 468-322-36 record during his time in the OHL, and he was the first American to win the Matt Leyden Trophy as OHL coach of the year after the Whalers captured the OHL championship in 2006-07. He was also named the OHL’s Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year in 2012-13.
Prior to joining the Whalers, Vellucci was with Detroit Compuware of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), where his teams went 241-82-27 in the regular season from 1994-99, and captured U.S. national championships in 1994 and 1999. The Ambassadors also captured two NAHL regular-season titles and four Robertson Cups. Vellucci played professionally in the IHL, AHL, ECHL and BHL from 1986-89. Selected by the Hartford Whalers in the seventh round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft, Vellucci played for Hartford during the 1987-88 season.