JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The ECHL is renaming the award for its top goaltender, making it the Nick Vitucci Goaltender of the Year Award.
Vitucci, a former Toledo Storm and Walleye coach, enjoyed a 26-year association with the ECHL, beginning in the inaugural season of 1988-89. In that season, he backstopped the Carolina Thunderbirds to the Riley Cup title, the first of his ECHL-record five championships, and received the Playoff MVP Award.
A native of Welland, Ontario, Vitucci added Riley Cup titles with Greensboro in 1990, Toledo in 1994 and Charlotte in 1996, capturing his second postseason MVP honor with the Checkers. He received the Goaltender of the Year Award with Toledo in 1998, as he finished fourth in the league with 27 wins and a 2.78 goals-against average.
“Nick Vitucci has been a major part of the ECHL during the past 34 years,” ECHL Commissioner Emeritus Patrick J. Kelly said in a news release. “He won five championships as a player and coach, and continues to be an advocate for the ECHL to this day. It is a great privilege to rename the League's Goaltender of the Year Award in his honor.”
Vitucci is the ECHL all-time leader in goaltender appearances (479), wins (265) and minutes played (27,291).