Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Vellucci wins top OHL coaching honors

The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Michael Vellucci of the Plymouth Whalers is the 2006-2007 Matt Leyden Trophy winner as the OHL's Coach of the Year.

Vellucci, a 40-year-old native of Farmington, is a graduate of the Ontario Hockey League having spent three seasons as a defenceman for the Belleville Bulls. Vellucci guided the Whalers to an impressive 49-14-2-3 record this season, the most wins in his Ontario Hockey League coaching career, while capturing the Bumbacco Trophy West Division Championship for the second consecutive year. Vellucci has coached the Whalers for the past six seasons and has an overall coaching record of 228-124-38-18.

Some past winners of the Matt Leyden Trophy include: Dale Hunter, Brian Kilrea, Craig Hartsburg, Jacques Martin, George Armstrong and Terry Crisp.

The Matt Leyden Trophy is voted on by the member teams of the Ontario Hockey League. In a first round of balloting, teams vote for the top coaches, within their own conference. The top three nominees from both the Eastern and Western conferences are declared as finalists. A second round of voting is then conducted on a league wide basis where teams vote for any of the six finalists. At no time during the voting can a team vote for their own candidate. Coaches receive five points for a first place vote, three points for a second place vote and one point for a third place vote.

The Matt Leyden Trophy has been awarded annually since 1972, to the Coach of the Year in the Ontario Hockey League. The award is in recognition of the contributions of Matt Leyden, past President of the Ontario Hockey Association from 1965-1967. The Oshawa native was honored as a lifetime member of the OHA in 1972.

Last year, Dave Barr of the Guelph Storm was named the OHL Coach of the Year after guiding the Storm to a 40-24-1-3 record, for 84 points. This was a 27 point increase from the previous season for the Storm and was among the largest improvements in the Ontario Hockey League.
Vellucci received 53 points in the voting process, followed by Mike Kelly of the Mississauga IceDogs with 35 points and Dave Barr of the Guelph Storm with 26 points.

Vellucci is the Ontario Hockey League nominee for the Go RVing Brian Kilrea CHL Coach of the Year Award.

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