Rocky Thompson Head Coach
Rocky Thompson was named Chicago Wolves head coach on June 7, 2017. The 2017-18 campaign will mark Thompson’s 11th season as a coach, which includes two seasons as the head coach for the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires. His tenure with the Spitfires culminated with a Memorial Cup on May 28, 2017.
The 39-year-old spent five years as a coach in the Edmonton organization prior to joining Windsor. Under the same ownership as the Oilers, Thompson began his career during the 2007-08 season as an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League.
After three seasons (2007-10) with the Oil Kings, Thompson joined the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons for four seasons (2010-14). Prior to the 2014-15 season he was elevated to an assistant for the NHL parent club, where he was behind the bench with former Wolves Dallas Eakins and Todd Nelson.
Prior to coaching, Thompson played professional hockey – split between the NHL and AHL – for parts of 11 seasons from 1995 to 2007. Selected in the third round of the 1995 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound right wing made his NHL debut on Jan. 28, 1998, and went on to appear in 25 games between the Flames and the Florida Panthers and racked up 117 penalty minutes.
In AHL competition, Thompson appeared in 566 regular-season games and compiled 69 points (17G, 52A). His 1,919 penalty minutes rank 10th on the AHL’s all-time penalty-minute list. The Calgary, Alberta, native skated for the Edmonton Road Runners, Hershey Bears, Louisville Panthers, Peoria Rivermen, Saint John Flames, San Antonio Rampage and Toronto Roadrunners.
Thompson and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children: sons Tyr and Tyme and daughters Taze and True.
Chris Dennis Assistant Coach
Chris Dennis was named an assistant coach for the Chicago Wolves on June 30, 2017, and is expected to operate the defense corps for head coach Rocky Thompson.
The 37-year-old spent the last two seasons as the head coach for York University in Toronto, where he took over a last-place program and transformed it into the champions of the 20-team Ontario University Athletics conference. The Lions captured the 2017 Queen’s Cup with a dramatic 4-3 victory on March 11.
Prior to taking the job at York, Dennis spent 10 years in the Maple Leafs organization in a variety of roles spanning the head-coaching tenures of Hall of Famer Pat Quinn, Paul Maurice, Ron Wilson and Randy Carlyle. Dennis served as a Maple Leafs assistant coach from 2013-15 and worked as an assistant for the American Hockey League’s Toronto Marlies when they reached the Calder Cup Finals in 2012.
Thompson and Dennis built a relationship last year while coaching for Hockey Canada’s U-17 World Championship team.
Dennis and his wife, Melissa, have two sons, Luke and Ryan.
Bob Nardella Assistant Coach
One of the most accomplished players in Chicago Wolves history, Bob Nardella was promoted to assistant coach on July 12, 2017, after serving for two seasons as skills development coach and three seasons as a part-time assistant for the franchise.
Nardella ranks second on the team’s all-time regular-season list for games (476), fifth in assists (239) and sixth in points (298) after spending six full and three partial seasons with the Wolves. He was a key player when Chicago captured the 1998 and 2000 Turner Cups as well as the 2002 Calder Cup.
The 49-year-old Melrose Park native made his Wolves debut during the team’s inaugural season in 1994-95. After spending one season in Italy and another in Germany – punctuated by his first of two appearances in the Winter Olympics with Italy’s national team – Nardella returned to the Wolves from 1997 to 2002.
The defenseman posted 48 points in 65 regular-season games and 18 points in 22 playoff games during the run to the 1998 Turner Cup. Nardella provided 46 points in 77 regular-season games and 13 points in 16 postseason games in 2000 while earning Second All-Star Team recognition in the International Hockey League. He added 26 points in 52 regular-season games and 14 points in 24 games during the 2002 Calder Cup playoffs.
Nardella ranks second on the Wolves’ all-time postseason list in games (101), fourth in points (61), fourth in assists (44), and seventh in goals (17).
Nardella lives in Rosemont with his wife, Alicia, and their sons, Bobby and Nicholas.
Kevin Kacer, ATC Athletic Trainer
Kevin Kacer, ATC, became the Wolves head athletic trainer in 1995 after being an assistant athletic trainer with the Detroit Pistons from 1993-95. Before that, he served as the head athletic trainer for the Continental Basketball Association’s Fort Wayne Fury (1991-93); the International Hockey League’s Fort Wayne Komets (1990-91); and the National Professional Soccer League’s Fort Wayne Flames (1988-90).
Kacer earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Indianapolis, where he served as the head student trainer from 1983-87. He gained experience as a volunteer trainer at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne from 1983-87 and at the 1986 Pan American Games in Indianapolis.
The 52-year-old is a member of the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society, National Athletic Trainers’ Association and American College of Sports Medicine.
Kacer and his wife, Jill, have a daughter, Madison, and two sons, Cameron and Nolan, and reside in the western suburbs.
Craig Kogut Equipment Manager
Craig Kogut has completed 23 seasons with the Wolves, which includes the last 22 as the team’s head equipment manager. The 55-year-old Maywood native handled the Wolves assistant equipment manager role during the team’s inaugural 1994-95 season.
A member of the Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers (SPHEM), Kogut has worked more than 1,800 games for the Wolves. He also served as assistant equipment manager with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 1984-85 season. The 1980 Proviso East High School graduate worked as a store manager for K & K Sports from 1989-94.
Kogut and his wife, Anna, have a daughter, Lisamarie, and a son, D.J., and reside in the western suburbs.
Stan Dubicki Goaltending Coach
Stan Dubicki has spent the last eight seasons as the Wolves goaltending coach. Prior to joining the organization, he worked for five years at Wendell Young’s Goaltending Academy.
In addition to his duties with the Wolves, the 53-year-old Dubicki has served as the head coach or goaltending coach for several Chicago-area high school teams — including the Maine girls hockey co-op team and Fenwick High School’s and Oak Park-River Forest’s boys teams.
Dubicki and his wife, Carla, and daughter, Nicole, live in Schiller Park.
Jeff Conkle is in his first season as the Wolves strength and conditioning coach.
Prior to arriving in Chicago, Conkle spent four seasons serving as the strength and conditioning coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets’ primary American Hockey League affiliate. His tenure was split evenly between the Springfield Falcons (2013-15) and the Cleveland Monsters (2015-17).
The 28-year-old Columbus, Ohio, native earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University.