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Checkers coach Mike Vellucci exits the Hurricanes organization for the AHL’s Penguins

Calder Cup champion Checkers arrive home in Charlotte

The Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers arrived back in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, June 9, 2019 following their decisive win against the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night. The team will be hosting a celebration at Bojangles' Coliseum on Monday.
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The Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers arrived back in Charlotte, NC on Sunday, June 9, 2019 following their decisive win against the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night. The team will be hosting a celebration at Bojangles' Coliseum on Monday.

Mike Vellucci, who coached the Charlotte Checkers to the Calder Cup title this past season, is leaving the Carolina Hurricanes' organization to join the Pittsburgh Penguins' organization as the head coach of the AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The team announced Friday that Vellucci and the Hurricanes had “mutually agreed to part ways.” Vellucci also served as an assistant general manger and director of hockey operations for the Hurricanes.

“I’m thankful for my time with the Hurricanes organization,” Vellucci said in a statement. “We created some great memories in Charlotte, including winning the franchise’s first Calder Cup and bringing the first championship to Charlotte last season. ... It’s hard to leave, but I have been presented with an exciting opportunity that makes sense for my future.”

A news release on the AHL's website announced the coaching change.

Vellucci, 52, had completed his fifth season with the organization and his second as head coach of the Checkers, the Canes’ American Hockey League affiliate.

The Checkers were a league-best 51-17-8 in 2018-19 and then won the Calder Cup playoffs.

Vellucci was hired by the Hurricanes in April 2014 and took over as the Checkers head coach in June 2017.

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Charlotte Checkers fans gather at the Burger Company on Morehead Street in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, June 8, 2019 for a watch party as the team battled the Chicago Wolves in the AHL Calder Cup. The Checkers defeated the Wolves 5-3.

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In more than 30 years at The N&O, Chip Alexander has covered the N.C. State, UNC, Duke and East Carolina beats, and now is in his 11th season on the Carolina Hurricanes beat. Alexander, who has won numerous writing awards at the state and national level, covered the Hurricanes’ move to North Carolina in 1997 and was a part of The N&O’s coverage of the Canes’ 2006 Stanley Cup run.
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