The Wheeling Nailers, announced Wednesday that Clark Donatelli will be returning as the team's head coach for the 2013-14 season.
Donatelli, 45, will be entering his third season with the Nailers, having served as head coach for one full season and one partial season, as well as an assistant coach for 13 games under Stan Drulia at the start of the 2011-12 campaign. When Drulia advanced to the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals, Donatelli took over the reigns, leading Wheeling to a 26-20-9 mark under his tutelage, and also an appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs. This past season, Clark guided the Nailers to another winning record, as the club went 31-29-12, despite seeing 51 different players suit up in a Nailers uniform. Donatelli's 57 wins as a head coach rank him sixth in the 21-year history of hockey in Wheeling, and a 33-win campaign in 2013-14 would push him all the way up to second place, behind Doug Sauter, who leads the way with 124 victories.
"Clark is a valuable member of our organization both on and off of the ice, and we are happy to have him back for another season," said Nailers Governor Don Rigby. "He has developed a fantastic working relationship with the Penguins and Canadiens, and has countless connections in the hockey world that will help us put a winning product on the ice, while also helping players reach their highest potential."
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, the Providence, RI native played seven years of professional hockey, which included two seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota North Stars and Boston Bruins. Donatelli appeared in 35 career NHL games, accumulating three goals, four assists, seven points, and 39 penalty minutes. He also spent time with the AHL's Providence Bruins, as well as the Kalamazoo Wings, San Diego Gulls, Detroit Vipers, and Los Angeles Ice Dogs, all of the IHL.
Two of Clark's greatest claims to fame occurred in 1988 and 1992, when after attending Boston University, he was selected to play for Team USA at the Olympics. The 1988 team posted a 2-3 mark at the games played in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, while the 1992 team (which Donatelli captained) finished in fourth place, falling to Czechoslovakia in the Bronze Medal Game in Albertville, France.
"I am looking forward to returning to Wheeling, where I will look to continue the strong tradition this organization has of developing players for the next level," said Head Coach Clark Donatelli. "We plan to have a exciting team with new faces and top prospects that will be fun for our great fans of 21 years to watch this season."
This season, Clark Donatelli will be joined in Wheeling by his wife Michelle and youngest son Jack.
Donatelli's third year at the helm for the Nailers begins on Friday, October 18th, when Wheeling plays host to the Elmira Jackals at 7:00 p.m. at WesBanco Arena.