WHEELING, WV – The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced Clark Donatelli will take over as head coach for the team’s 2012-2013 season, removing the “interim” tag from last year’s season and beginning his official start as the team’s head coach July 1.
Donatelli, 44, enters his second season with the Wheeling Nailers, following a seven-year stint as a professional player that took him through the NHL, AHL, and IHL. After a season with Tim Army and the Providence College Friars in 2011, Donatelli joined the Wheeling Nailers coaching staff as Stan Drulia’s assistant coach during the 2011-2012 season and took over as the interim head coach after Drulia joined the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. After taking over the helm, Donatelli led the team to a 26-20-9 season, and the team’s second consecutive post-season appearance.
“It is an exciting day for the Wheeling Nailers to introduce Clark as our head coach for the 2012-2013 season,” said Tim Roberts. “Clark is a familiar face to our organization, our team, and is a huge supporter of hockey in our community. He has the credentials and the background in developing hockey players, the character and commitment that fit our philosophy, and he has the passion to get things done for our program on and off the ice. ”
No stranger to the ice, Donatelli began his journey to the pros in the fall of 1984 when he played the first of three seasons with the Boston University Terriers. During the 1987-88 season, the Providence, RI native suited up for the United States National Team in the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Four years later, Donatelli put on the red, white, and blue for another Olympic run, serving as the team’s captain at the 1992 Olympic Games in Albertville, France. Clark’s NHL playing career spanned a total of 35 games with the Minnesota North Stars and Boston Bruins.
“We’re extremely excited to be working with Clark again this season and are looking forward to working together to continue building on the great tradition of Wheeling Nailers hockey,” said Craig Bommer, vice president of business operations for the Wheeling Nailers. “Clark is a great asset on the bench and in the
community. I know our team is looking forward to having Clark back in the area, and we’re looking forward to working with him to continue bringing exciting hockey to the Ohio Valley.”
Wrapping up negotiations this week, the Wheeling Nailers will continue their twelve-year affiliate relationship with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“The Penguins are happy to continue our relationship with the Wheeling Nailers,” said Jason Botterill, assistant general manager with the Pittsburgh Penguins. “Wheeling has been a great resource
for the club and has given us the opportunity to scout and develop many prospects given the close proximity of Pittsburgh. The new ownership group in Wheeling has given us great confidence and the promotion of Clark Donatelli from interim to head coach is another promising step forward.”
Donatelli and the Wheeling Nailers will open the 2012-13 campaign on October 13th when the Nailers open their twenty-first season on the road against the Cincinnati Cyclones. The team will kick off the season at WesBanco Arena for the home opener on October 26 against the Reading Royals.
The Wheeling Nailers, locally owned by The Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley – a partnership between the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA) and the Regional Economic Development (RED) Partnership, is one of three charter member franchises still playing in the ECHL. Ticket packages for the 2012-2013 Wheeling Nailers season are on sale now, starting at just $7.50 per game. For more information, call 304-234-GOAL or visit www.wheelingnailers.com.