The Charlotte Checkers introduced Mike Vellucci as head coach on Thursday after four seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations. Vellucci will continue to serve the Hurricanes front office in those roles but will be the Checkers’ full time bench boss moving forward. The move comes after Ulf Samuelsson was hired as assistant coach of the Chicago Blackhawks after just one season as head coach of the Checkers.
Vellucci most recently was head coach of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League from 2001-2014 before being brought on to the Hurricanes front office staff.
Below is the full Periscope of the press conference held on Thursday afternoon:
Quotes from new Checkers head coach Mike Vellucci:
On young guys having the opportunity to jump to Raleigh this year:
I think, as Ronnie was talking about, there’s more competition up there (in Raleigh)....Eight or nine new guys this year (in Charlotte) so there’s going to be a lot of competition, you’ve got to be on your A game but there is plenty of opportunity for guys to make it up there.
On potential breakout candidates in Charlotte:
Well, we have Julien Gauthier, if he doesn’t make the big club (Hurricanes), he’ll have an opportunity here. Nic Roy, both of those guys were on the world stage last year with the junior Canadian team and obviously were on the top line and did really well, so those are two guys. Janne Kuokkanen, another one of our second rounders, coming in who had a great year in London (London Knights, Ontario Hockey League). Warren Foegele who was MVP of the OHL playoffs who won the Wayne Gretzky award which is a unique thing to get there. I shouldn’t have just named them because there are plenty of other guys.
On having double duties as assistant general manager and Checkers head coach:
I enjoy being busy. I enjoy working with younger guys. I enjoy the development part of it and making sure they get better every day. So I’m excited.