TOLEDO, Ohio – For more than a decade, Nick Vitucci has played a role in professional hockey in Toledo, as a player, a coach and Director of Hockey Operations. Today, the Toledo Walleye announced that Vitucci will leave the organization to become the assistant coach with the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League.
I have been so fortunate to spend a big part of my career in Toledo. I have been part of Toledo hockey for 16 years and the ironic part is that I lived in my hometown of Welland, Ontario for 21 years," says Vitucci. "For the second time in my life, I feel like I’m leaving home."
"It’s been a pleasure to work with Nick beginning with the Toledo Storm and then with the Walleye," says Neil Neukam, Toledo Walleye general manager. "His passion for, and experience in the game enabled him to play an integral role in the planning and development of the Walleye franchise. We wish him luck as he takes this next step in his career."
Indcuted into the ECHL Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural 2008 class, Vitucci first came to Toledo as a goaltender with the Toledo Storm during the 1993-94 season and was a member of the Riley Cup winning team in 1994. He was a player-assistant coach for the Storm the following season and returned for another season between the pipes in 1997-98.
He returned during the 2003-04 season as a midseason replacement to become Head Coach of the Storm. Over three-and-a-half seasons, Vitucci guided the Storm to an overall record of 140-104-21 and three straight playoff appearances. He was then Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations for the Toledo Walleye during the team’s first five seasons, posting an overall record of 154-171-35 and guiding the Walleye to two postseason appearances.
In Portland, Victucci will be reunited with his former teammate Scott Allen. The two were part of the Carolina Thunderbirds squad that captured the ECHL’s Riley Cup title in the league’s first season in 1988-89. "I am very excited to begin this next chapter of my career. Scott Allen is one of the hardest working coaches in hockey. He is a former teammate of mine and someone that I’m fortunate to call a friend."