CHICAGO, IL – The Chicago Wolves have found their 13th Head Coach in franchise history closer to home than expected. Bob Nardella, a former defenseman and an integral part of the team since its inaugural season in 1994-95, has been named Head Coach of the American Hockey League (AHL) team. Nardella’s appointment continues the legacy of one of the most accomplished figures in Wolves history.
Nardella, 55, had been serving as an assistant coach since July 2017, following two seasons as a skills development coach and three seasons as a part-time assistant for the franchise. During his six seasons as a full-time assistant, Nardella played a pivotal role in leading the Wolves to the 2022 Calder Cup championship, the 2019 Calder Cup Finals, and four Central Division titles in 2018, 2019, 2021, and 2022.
“Wolves family for decades, no one embodies the organization’s team philosophy more than Bob,” said Wolves General Manager Wendell Young. “His accomplishments as a player are well-documented, but it’s his skills as a coach that make him the perfect man to lead the Wolves during the 2023-24 season.”
Nardella’s impressive on-ice career with the Wolves includes ranking second on the team’s all-time regular-season list for games played (476), fifth in assists (239), and sixth in points (298). He played a key role in Chicago’s triumphs, contributing to the team’s Turner Cup wins in 1998 and 2000, as well as the 2002 Calder Cup victory.
Expressing his excitement at the appointment, Nardella said, “It’s a thrill. I never really dreamed to be the head coach of the organization that I played with and coached under, so I’m very lucky. It’s worked out great. We fully expect to win championships here, and our first step is to get back in the playoffs so we can try to accomplish that.”
Nardella, a native of Melrose Park, Illinois, made his debut with the Wolves during the ’94-95 season. He briefly played overseas in Italy and Germany before returning to the team as a player in 1997. His dedication to the organization and his love for the sport are evident as he expressed his commitment to the fans: “We’re going to try to make all the Chicago Wolves fans proud by working hard, acting the right way, and playing the right way. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position.”
As an independent AHL team without an affiliation to an NHL club for the 2023-24 season, the Wolves have scheduled their home opener for October 14 at Allstate Arena. The full regular-season schedule will be released next month.
For more information on the Wolves’ roster and updates for the upcoming season, visit ChicagoWolves.com.