By Ryan George
For Warren Young, scoring goals was his greatest skill. But it was his toughness and ability to drop the gloves that caught the eye of the Pittsburgh Penguins and gave the Toronto, Ontario, native the chance to play in the National Hockey League.
Now 46 years old and his playing days well behind him, Young is using experience and knowledge as both player and coach to help bring along the many rookies on the Wheeling Nailers. For the past month, the former Pittsburgh Penguins scout and Louisville IceHawks head coach has been serving as an assistant coach with the Nailers under head coach John Brophy.
Like most natives of the hockey mecca of Toronto, Young learned to skate a few years after he took his first step. It was about the same time that he began idolizing his home town Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Leafs’ high-powered offense quickly became the model for Young’s game. As an amateur, he became a goal-scorer but getting noticed by professional clubs didn’t come until after Young grew a few inches during the course of a summer.
“I think I was a late bloomer,” Young said following the Nailers’ Wednesday morning skate at the Wheeling Civic Center.
After choosing to play his college hockey at Michigan Tech, his size and scoring touch helped him get noticed by professional hockey scouts. By the time he graduated in 1979, he was the property of the Minnesota North Stars.
Young quickly began his journey into professional hockey with brief stops in the NHL, while most of his play took place in the minors. After several seasons in the North Stars organization Young was ready for a change and anticipated his chance to play in the NHL.