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Published: Thursday, 9/29/2005

Drulia boosts Storm coaching staff

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

The Toledo Storm essentially will have two head coaches behind the bench this season with the addition of an offensive-minded special-teams guru.

The Storm hired former Augusta head coach Stan Drulia as an assistant coach yesterday. Drulia played in 126 games in the National Hockey League with the Tampa Bay Lightning before retiring in 2001. He has coached three teams since then and has a 103-82-16 record.

Drulia is the all-time points leader in the Ontario Hockey League with 439. As head coach of the ECHL's Augusta Lynx last season, Drulia's team had the best power play in the league at 20.4 percent.

"I will lean toward him running the offense and I'll concentrate on the defense," said Nick Vitucci, Storm head coach and director of player personnel. "I think the Toledo fans are fortunate to have two head coaches behind one bench."

Drulia said that he was a penalty killer in the NHL and that he brings "a little knowledge in every facet of the game."

"They can count on me a lot to help get the power play going," Drulia said. "There will be a lot of movement on our power play. You need to find dead ice and dead space. It's all about preparation."

Vitucci said Drulia's experience in the NHL brings instant credibility.

"Stan has been where all these guys are trying to get to," Vitucci said.

In 1990-91, Drulia was a member of the ECHL's Knoxville Cherokees and finished that year with 140 points (63 goals and 77 assists) and was named league MVP.

"I've worked out of the ECHL up to the NHL and I hope I can relay that message to the players," he said.

Drulia also played in the International Hockey League with the Detroit Vipers and helped them win a Turner Cup championship in 1997.

Drulia's Augusta team, which finished in sixth place the last two seasons, played in a smaller rink with nearly the same dimensions as the Sports Arena.

"Both buildings are very similar in size. They are older buildings that pack a lot of atmosphere and a lot punch when the fans get going," Drulia said. "Going to a northern city that loves hockey is where I want to be. They love the game and they understand it."

Contact Mark Monroe at:

mmonroe@theblade.com

or 419-724-6110.



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