Toledo Storm coach Nick Vitucci is expected to sign a contract extension today that will keep the former Storm goaltender with the franchise through the 2005-06 season.
Vitucci was named the ECHL coach of the year after leading Toledo to a 41-26-5 record and a berth in the Kelly Cup playoffs last season.
"Toledo has always been a second home to me," Vitucci said. "Obviously I'm honored to have the opportunity to continue to build on the success we've had."
Vitucci, who also serves as the organization's director of player personnel, was the Storm's goaltender from 1993-95. He holds a multitude of ECHL goalie records, including most career wins (265).
"Nick has longevity and is a proven winner in the ECHL," said Storm vice president and general manager Mike Miller.
Vitucci was named interim head coach on Dec. 20, 2003, but the Storm staggered to a 14-27-8 finish that season. But Toledo rebounded with a 30-point improvement this past season before losing its North Division semifinal playoff series 3-1 to Reading.
Vitucci said he'd like to bring back nine or 10 players from last season's team and also upgrade the offense.
"I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get busy with the recruiting," Vitucci said. "We want to bring in the best possible players here to Toledo."
Vitucci said he is particularly grateful to the team's fans who stepped up to buy season tickets which helped save the franchise from suspending operations next season.