WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to welcome Gene Reilly as their new assistant coach.
Reilly, 57, has coached hockey for several years, while also serving as a scout, senior advisor, and director of player development, following his retirement as a player. Gene began his coaching career as an assistant coach with the NEJHL's Springfield Olympics, who promoted him to head coach after two seasons. While in Springfield, Reilly coached his teams to three straight championships, which helped open the door to the NCAA. Gene joined the University of Maine in 1998, where he won his fourth consecutive title, capturing the NCAA National Championship as an assistant coach for Shawn Walsh. Reilly has also spent time in college hockey with Harvard University, Northeastern University, Colorado College, and UMass-Lowell. Professionally, Gene was an assistant coach in the AHL for two seasons with Grand Rapids and Binghamton, while primarily holding that role with HC Salzburg in Austria, where he won the EBEL Championship twice. Most recently, Reilly was the head coach of the USHL's Des Moines Buccaneers, who won their first playoff series since 2007.
"The Nailers organization, the players, and myself as head coach are very fortunate to add a coach of Gene's passion, experience, and depth of knowledge," said Nailers Head Coach Mike Bavis. "I look forward to seeing his impact on our hockey team throughout the year."
In addition to his National Championship with Walsh at Maine, Reilly has had the opportunity to work alongside other excellent coaches, such as current Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy (Grand Rapids), former Winnipeg Jets and Ottawa Senators Head Coach John Paddock (Binghamton), and two-time Kelly Cup Champion Head Coach Mike Haviland (Colorado College). Notable players that Gene has coached include current Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin (Springfield) and current Toronto Maple Leaf Jason Spezza (Binghamton), as well as former Nailers Brad Thiessen (Northeastern University) and Hunter Fejes (Colorado College).
"I've known Mike Bavis for a long time, and he and I share similar values in and out of hockey," Reilly said. "I'm very intrigued to work in the ECHL, and am excited for the challenge of bringing Wheeling its first Kelly Cup."
Gene Reilly will make his regular season debut as the Nailers Assistant Coach on Saturday, October 12th, when the team visits the Cincinnati Cyclones. The home opener is one week later on Saturday, October 19th, when the Indy Fuel visit WesBanco Arena at 7:05. Season tickets, partial plans, and group tickets are available now. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley. For information on season tickets, group tickets, partial plans, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.