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Photo: Chicago Wolves

Wolves promote Nardella to assistant coach

The Chicago Wolves announced Wednesday that Bob Nardella has been hired as an assistant coach after serving the last two years as the team’s skills development coach and the last three as a part-time assistant.

The 49-year-old Nardella has been an integral part of the Wolves organization since the team was founded in 1994. The Melrose Park, Illinois, native played six full seasons and parts of three others from 1994 to 2006.

Nardella ranks as the highest-scoring defenseman in franchise history with 298 points. Overall, he stands second in Wolves annals in games played (476), fifth in assists (239), and sixth in points. Nardella played a primary role when Chicago captured the International Hockey League’s Turner Cup in 1998 and 2000 and the American Hockey League’s Calder Cup in 2002.

“This means everything to me,” Nardella said. “I feel like such a part of the organization because, except for a few years, I’ve been here since the beginning. I care about the Wolves organization deeply. It has defined me over the last 20 years. I take a lot of pride in it.”

Nardella completes the Wolves coaching staff for 2017-18. He joins new head coach Rocky Thompson, who competed against Nardella in AHL play during the mid-2000s, and new assistant coach Chris Dennis.

“It was time for Bob to move into the full-time position,” said Wolves general manager Wendell Young, who was teammates with Nardella for five seasons. “He’s been coaching here for a few years and he knows the way we work as an organization. He’ll be a big help with Rocky’s and Chris’ transitions, but what’s more important is his hockey knowledge. He’s going to be a big asset.”