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Ubriaco & Nardella: Hall of Famers

Welcome to Wolves Insider: the weekly report that gives you the latest Chicago Wolves news as the organization bids for its fifth league championship.


An all-star cast will be honored Friday night at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont during the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame’s 43rd Gala and Induction Ceremony.

Jerry Colangelo will receive the Andretti Lifetime Achievement Award. There’ll be special salutes to Tony Esposito and Tommy Lasorda. John Cena will be inducted along with Paul Konerko, Vinny Del Negro, Lee Mazzilli, Buzz Capra, Peter Longo, Jackie Santacaterina and Dave Palone. Oh, and there’ll be two Chicago Wolves legends taking their well-earned place in the Hall: Gene Ubriaco and Bob Nardella.

Ubriaco, 83, is in his eighth decade of professional hockey as a player, coach and manager who has crossed paths with virtually every legend in the game. He was the Wolves’ original head coach and has worked for the organization since Day 1. Nardella was in the lineup on the blue line for the Wolves’ first game and played for nine years — ranking second in franchise history in games (476) and sixth in points (298) while being a crucial part of the Wolves’ 1998, 2000 and 2002 championship teams. Now he’s in his fifth year as an assistant coach.

Ubriaco and Nardella will be surrounded by family during the ceremony — and they’ll be thinking about other family members who guided them along the way. When Ubriaco’s father, Frank, was 14 years old, he took a boat from his native Italy to North America. He was an orphan looking to build a new life — and he found a job in a steel mill in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

“The biggest part of the ceremony is that it recognizes my family,” Ubriaco said. “My parents were the most influential people in my life. My father never really saw me play much because he had to work. My mother (Caroline) came to every game. I played outside every game until I was 13 or 14 and she’d be outside freezing all the time.”

Nardella has loved the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame since his late father, Robert, would take him to its conventions when he was a boy. “It’s a great honor,” Nardella said. “You look at some of the names that are in there…there are some names. Italian-Americans are proud people and we like to support each other.”


Looking for the best holiday gift on the planet? It’s hard to top the Chicago Wolves’ Howliday Gift Pack, which delivers 10 affordable ticket vouchers to use for any game (and any amount) you want!

As a bonus, you receive a Wolves winter knit hat, a Wolves commemorative hockey puck and a Wolves scarf. And did we mention the big savings? Find them at ChicagoWolvesStore.com.


Make plans now to join the Wolves and Vitalant for the blood drive on Saturday, Dec. 18, at Allstate Arena’s Skyline Room in Rosemont. The doors will be open to walk-ins from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., but it’s much easier to set up an appointment to donate.

In exchange for donating blood, the Wolves are prepared to spoil you. You’ll get two ticket vouchers to a Wolves game of your choice, a limited-edition Vitalant/Chicago Wolves T-shirt, a Wolves hat and a chance to win an autographed Wolves jersey.

Here’s how to make an appointment: visit Vitalant.org/Wolves (search for Group Code ORD0RS20) or call 877-258-4825.



The 28-year-old goaltender shut out the Iowa Wild twice in a four-day span to join Wendell Young, Pasi Nurminen, Kari Lehtonen, Pheonix Copley, Jordan Binnington and Garret Sparks as the only goalies in franchise history to produce back-to-back shutouts. Lyon will carry a 159-minute, 49-second streak into his next start, which is 31:25 from tying Sparks’ team record.


The 21-year-old rookie center from Winnetka delivered the game-winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Iowa, then he added another goal and an assist in Sunday’s 4-0 victory at Iowa to push his season totals to 4 goals and 7 assists. Drury has lined up as the Wolves’ second-line center in all 20 games of his first professional season in North America.


The Wolves captain moved into a tie for the AHL scoring lead with his assist on Jack Drury’s game-winning goal Saturday night. Poturalski’s 24 points (9G, 15A) share the league lead with Rochester forward Jack Quinn. His 15 assists are tied with teammate C.J. Smith for second in the league while his nine goals lead the Wolves.


REWIND (3-0-0-0)


  • Alex Lyon became the seventh goaltender in Wolves history to record shutouts in back-to-back appearances as the Wolves pushed their winning streak to a season-high six games.
  • Forwards David Cotton, Jack Drury, Stefan Noesen and Josh Leivo scored goals while C.J. Smith handed out two assists playing in his hometown of Des Moines.
  • Lyon rejected 20 shots to register his eighth career AHL shutout.


  • After Iowa scored during a 5-on-3 power play in the first period, the Wolves buckled down and scored in the second and third to extend their winning streak to five games.
  • Centers Maxim Letunov and Jack Drury scored as Dominik Bokk set up Letunov’s tying blast and captain Andrew Poturalski teed up Drury’s game-winner.
  • Goaltender Eetu Makiniemi posted 23 saves to earn his third straight win.


  • The Wolves posted as many goals as Iowa had shots (1) in the first period and the home team proceeded to kill all 5 power plays it faced to earn its first shutout on home ice this season.
  • Defenseman Jesper Sellgren scored his first regular-season goal in North America 1:57 into the night while forward Sam Miletic added a big insurance goal early in the third.
  • Goaltender Alex Lyon stopped 30 shots to earn his first shutout in a Wolves uniform.


Thursday, Dec. 9 at Texas 7 p.m. H-E-B Center AHLTV
Saturday, Dec. 11 at Texas 7 p.m. H-E-B Center AHLTV
Sunday, Dec. 12 at Texas 5 p.m. H-E-B Center AHLTV
Thursday, Dec. 16 vs. Manitoba 11 a.m. Allstate Arena AHLTV
Friday, Dec. 17 at Milwaukee 7 p.m. Panther Arena AHLTV


All games are streamed on AHLTV.