The off-season has officially started for the Carolina Hurricanes. It took less than one day for rumors to start regarding the head coaching job next season for the Carolina Hurricanes.
“DT: The rumours of Mike Velucci going to Carolina won’t stop. With big changes coming to the Canes, Velucci may get a big-time promotion!”
– Mark Seidel (@MarkSeidel)
Mike Vellucci, long time head coach of the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL, has been rumored to be a potential candidate to be the new head coach in Raleigh. He has coached since 2001, but he has yet to leave the OHL level.
Vellucci won the OHL Coach of The Year and the OHL Executive of The Year awards in the 2012-2013 season. Mike Vellucci is also the President and General Manager of the Plymouth Whalers on top of head coach.
Mike Vellucci’s Plymouth Whalers have finished 1st in the OHL’s Western Conference in 6 of his 13 seasons with him as head coach. He won the J. Ross Robertson Cup (OHL Playoff Champion) in the 2006-2007 season with Plymouth.
While Mike Vellucci has accomplished a lot at the helm of Plymouth, I’m not sure if making him head coach would be the right move. I think I speak for most Carolina Hurricanes fans when I say that I’m not sure if a coach without any professional hockey coaching experience is the right fit of this team.
Last year, Peter Karmanos Jr., the Owner of the Carolina Hurricanes, said this about Mike Vellucci:
“I think Mike’s a better coach today than three or four guys now coaching in the NHL. In fact, I called Mike after this last coach that Tampa hired and told Mike how bad I feel that he’s coaching and being so loyal in the OHL when I think he’s better than (New Jersey’s) Peter DeBoer, he’s a better coach than (Tampa Bay’s) Jon Cooper.”
That’s a lot of confidence in an OHL coach that has never coached at the professional level.
I don’t think it is unlikely that the Carolina Hurricanes bring Vellucci on board. The question is if he is a significant upgrade over Kirk Muller, and right now, I’m not convinced that he is. That being said, he has developed quite a reputation in the OHL, so he could be a good NHL coach.