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Whalers' Vellucci wins OHL Coach of the Year award

The Canadian Press

4/30/2013 1:20:41 PM

TORONTO -- Mike Vellucci of the Plymouth Whalers has been named the Ontario Hockey League's coach of the year.

Vellucci guided the Whalers to their 12th West Division title in franchise history with a 42-17-9 record for 93 points.

"I'm proud of our kids," Vellucci said in a statement. "They competed very hard and didn't give up. I believe in these guys and they believe in themselves. They're not quitters and they wanted to win a championship."

Vellucci also won coach of the year honours in 2007 when he led the Whalers to an OHL championship title.

The 46-year-old from Farmington, Mich., remains the only American-born coach to win the award. He has an all-time record of 440-278-40 for a .607 winning percentage and ranks 11th on the OHL's all-time wins list.

"He's been my coach for four years," said Whalers captain Colin MacDonald. "He can be tough, but he knows when to push guys. His results don't lie and he's continued to be a great coach year after year and always puts together successful teams. I'm really excited for him individually to win this award."

Vellucci has been behind the Whalers bench for 12 years. The franchise made the playoffs for a record 22nd consecutive season in 2012-13, advancing to the Western Conference final before losing to London in five games.