Goaltender of the Year Award Named in Honor of Nick Vitucci
January 17, 2022 - ECHL (ECHL) News Release
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The ECHL on Monday announced that the League is renaming the Goaltender of the Year Award the "Nick Vitucci Goaltender of the Year Award."
Vitucci, who was part of the first-ever induction class into the ECHL Hall of Fame in 2008, enjoyed a 26-year association with the League, beginning in the inaugural season of 1988-89. In that season, he backstopped the Carolina Thunderbirds to the Riley Cup title, the first of his ECHL-record five championships, and received the Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award.
A native of Welland, Ontario, Vitucci added Riley Cup titles with Greensboro in 1990, Toledo in 1994 and Charlotte in 1996, capturing his second postseason MVP honor with the Checkers. He received the Goaltender of the Year Award with Toledo in 1998, as he finished fourth in the league with 27 wins and a 2.78 goals-against average.
"Nick Vitucci has been a major part of the ECHL during the past 34 years," said ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly. "He won five championships as a player and coach, and continues to be an advocate for the ECHL to this day. It is a great privilege to rename the League's Goaltender of the Year Award in his honor."
Vitucci is the ECHL all-time leader in goaltender appearances (479), wins (265) and minutes played (27,291). He is tied for the most 20-plus win seasons all-time with seven and is one of just three goaltenders to post back-to-back 30-plus win seasons. He is also just one of 13 goaltenders in league history to score a goal, doing so for Charlotte on March 6, 1996 against Louisville.
After concluding his playing career following the 2000-01 season, Vitucci became an assistant coach with the Greenville Grrrowl, and added the final championship to his resume when Greenville won the Kelly Cup title in 2001. Vitucci spent two more seasons with the Grrrowl before returning to Toledo, where he became head coach of the Storm in 2003-04. Over nine seasons as head coach of the Storm and Walleye, he posted an overall record of 289-262-53 and was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2004-05.
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