The Chicago Wolves didn’t have to look far when it came to naming the 13th Head Coach in franchise history.
On Tuesday, the Wolves announced that Bob Nardella has been named Head Coach of the American Hockey League team, continuing the legacy of one of the most accomplished figures in team history that began when he was a defenseman during the inaugural season in 1994-95.
Nardella was promoted to assistant coach on July 12, 2017, after serving two seasons as skills development coach and three seasons as a part-time assistant for the franchise.
During his six seasons as a full-time assistant, the 55-year-old Nardella helped lead the Wolves to the 2022 Calder Cup championship, the 2019 Calder Cup Finals and four Central Division crowns — 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022.
“Having been a member of the Wolves family for decades, no one embodies the organization’s team philosophy more than Bob,” Wolves general manager Wendell Young said. “His accomplishments as a player are well-documented, but it’s his skills as a coach that make him the perfect man to lead the Wolves during the 2023-24 season.”
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.
“It’s a thrill,” Nardella said of being named Head Coach. “I never really dreamed to be the head coach of the organization that I played with and coached under so I’m very lucky. It’s worked out great.
We fully expect to win championships here and our first step is to get back in the playoffs so we can try to accomplish that.”
The Melrose Park, Ill., native made his Wolves debut during the ’94-95 season and later 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 as a player in 1997.
“We’re going to try to make all the Chicago Wolves fans proud by working hard, acting the right way and playing the right way,” Nardella said. “I’m extremely fortunate to be in the position.”
The Wolves, who will play as an independent AHL team without an affiliation to an NHL club during the 2023-24 season, have announced that their ’23-24 home opener is scheduled for Oct. 14 at Allstate Arena. The remainder of the regular-season schedule will be released next month.
To keep track of the progression of the Wolves’ roster for the 2023-24 season, visit ChicagoWolves.com.