Head CoachMike Vellucci, 50, became the fourth head coach in the Checkers' AHL history on June 15, 2017. He spent the previous three seasons as Assistant General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations with the Carolina Hurricanes, overseeing scouting and player development. He continues to serve in that role while coaching the Checkers.
Prior to joining the Hurricanes, the native of Farmington, MI, spent 14 seasons at the junior level with the Ontario Hockey League’s Plymouth Whalers, primarily as the team’s head coach and general manager. With the Whalers, Vellucci guided the team to a cumulative record of 468-322-36 and won the Matt Leyden Trophy as OHL coach of the year during a 2006-07 OHL championship season and again in 2012-13. He also captured the OHL Executive of the Year award in 2012-13, making him the first to receive both honors in the same season. Players who went on to NHL careers after playing for Vellucci's Whalers teams include Tyler Seguin, James Neal, Michal Neuvirth, Vincent Trocheck, Tom Wilson, Rickard Rakell and Connor Carrick.
Vellucci began his coaching career with Detroit Compuware of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), where his teams went 241-82-27 in the regular season from 1994-99, and captured U.S. national championships in 1994 and 1999. The Ambassadors also captured two NAHL regular-season titles and four Robertson Cups.
Selected by the Hartford Whalers in the seventh round of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Vellucci played professionally in the IHL, AHL, ECHL and BHL from 1986-90, including playing for Hartford during the 1987-88 season.