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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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Published: 1/3/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

HOCKEY

Walleye fans to benefit from 2012 Vitucci tirade

BY MARK MONROE
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
The first 2,000 fans at today’s Walleye game will get a Nick Vitucci bobblehead. The first 2,000 fans at today’s Walleye game will get a Nick Vitucci bobblehead.
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Walleye coach Nick Vitucci isn’t proud of his meltdown behind the Toledo bench that included tossing objects onto the ice during a 2012 game at the Huntington Center.

But the organization is turning the memorable tirade into a promotional event today during the Walleye’s game against Reading, which begins at 7:15 p.m. The team is having an “Anger Management Night,” and the first 2,000 fans will receive a commemorative Nick Vitucci bobblehead.

“The organization has turned a negative and maybe an embarrassing moment in my career into a fun night that will be exciting,” Vitucci said. “I’m not going to sugarcoat it, it’s not something I'm very proud of.”

The bobblehead features Vitucci ready to hurl a water bottle onto the ice while holding a stick.

The collectible toy commemorates the game on Feb. 25, 2012, when Vitucci exploded into a rage after disputing a call by the referee. Vitucci hurled three water bottles, a stick, and a clipboard onto the ice.

Video of the meltdown has received nearly 35,000 views on YouTube.

Vitucci was issued unsportsmanlike conduct and game misconduct penalties and was later suspended for one game.

Today’s game will feature video clips and skits starring the team’s mascots and Vitucci throughout the game. There also will be karate demonstrations before the game.

Vitucci, who is an avid sports memorabilia collector, said he already has a few of the bobbleheads that feature his likeness.

“I’m honored to be on it, and I will add a few to my collection,” he said.

This is the second time this season that the team has given away a bobblehead. On Nov. 29, a likeness of defenseman Cody Lampl, including the big beard and a street lamp, was given to the first 2,000 fans.

Also at the game, two former University of Michigan football players — Jeremy Gallon and Fitz Toussaint — will sign autographs on the main concourse.

Contact Mark Monroe at: mmonroe@theblade.com, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.



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