Goaltender of the Year Award Named in Honor of Nick Vitucci
(Toledo, OH) - The ECHL announced on Monday that the league is renaming the Goaltender of the Year Award the "Nick Vitucci Goaltender of the Year Award" in honor of the ECHL and Toledo Hockey Hall of Famer.
Vitucci, who just entered the Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday, December 29, 2021, has been part of the ECHL Hall of Fame since its very first class back in 2008. He began as a goaltender in the first season of the ECHL in 1988-89 when he helped the Carolina Thunderbirds to the first ECHL championship. It was the first of his record five championships that included one with the Toledo Storm in 1994. His long list of credentials in the postseason also include twice receiving the Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award (1989 and 1996) and he also took home the Goaltender of the Year Honors in 1998 with Toledo when he finished fourth in the league with 27 wins and a 2.78 goals against average.
"His resume as a player and all he's done for the ECHL as a league says it all," said Vice President and General Manager of the Walleye Neil Neukam. "To be recognized as an ECHL Hall of Famer and a recently inducted Toledo Hockey Hall of Fame member, we applaud the ECHL and their recognition of Nick and his accomplishments. On behalf of the Toledo Walleye and Toledo hockey fans everywhere, we congratulate him on this amazing honor!"
The native of Welland, Ontario 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.
To this day, Vitucci owns Toledo ECHL records (Storm and Walleye combined) for appearances (132), wins (77), saves (3,934), and minutes (7,631). Following his playing career he became head coach for the Toledo Storm in December of 2003 and went on to own records in Toledo ECHL history for games coached (604), wins (289), and total seasons coached (9). Vitucci was named ECHL Coach of the Year for his efforts in the 2004-05 season while coaching the Toledo Storm. He was the first-ever coach in the history of Toledo Walleye hockey starting in 2009 and lasting until 2014.
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