After spending one season away from the Toledo Storm, popular forward Nick Parillo realized just what a perfect fit the organization was for him.
Parillo, one of the most recognizable names in Storm history, signed a contract to return to the team that jump-started his pro career.
"I spent three great years in Toledo and I'm ready to get back to where everything was going so well," Parillo said. "I'm just really excited to be back and have the chance to play in front of that Toledo crowd again."
Parillo, 29, spent his first three seasons as a professional in Toledo appearing in 192 games, scoring 58 goals with 100 assists. The physical forward also racked up 358 penalty minutes.
In his last season with the Storm (2004-05), Parillo tallied 16 goals, added 32 assists, and scored five shorthanded goals in 69 contests.
But last season Parillo played for the Colorado Eagles of the Central Hockey League. He scored 18 goals and collected 17 assists in 45 games.
"When he left last year, I told him he would always be wanted back here," said Storm coach Nick Vitucci. "He was a fan favorite for quite a few years. He's one of the hardest working players I've ever met."
Parillo, who is 5-9 and 180 pounds, said he takes pride in the defensive aspect of his game at this point in his career. He said the play in the CHL is much slower and that he looks forward to returning to the quicker, and more highly-skilled, ECHL.
"I can't say I'll be the most talented guy on the team, but I'll definitely work as hard as I can. Maybe the fans appreciate that kind of effort," Parillo said.
Vitucci said Parillo is one of the fastest players in the ECHL.
"He's a small but mighty package," Vitucci said. "He looks like he could be on the cover of a muscle and fitness magazine. Offensively he can put points on the board. He's a good penalty killer and he contributes to the power play. He'll fight anyone who gets on his bad side. I think all of that is why he is a favorite."
Parillo, a native of Schenectady, N.Y., played at Merrimack College in Massachusetts and was voted best offensive player as a junior and senior.
Parillo has appeared in 21 career games in the American Hockey League, scoring a pair of goals.
Parillo's wife, Nikki, is from Toledo and they has extended family here. They plan to move back to northwest Ohio with their son Gage, 2.
Parillo became the first rookie to ever lead the Storm in scoring (23 goals, 38 assists) in 2002-03. Last season, Bracken Kearns broke that mark (33 and 36) and Parillo said he closely followed Toledo's run to the conference finals in the ECHL playoffs.
"When I tell people I played in Toledo, everyone has a story about the Sports Arena," Parillo said. "It's a unique place and I'm happy to be a part of it again."
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