Chicago Wolves Senior Adviser/Director of Hockey Operations GENE UBRIACO, a member of the Wolves organization since its inception in 1994, was named to the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
The 73-year-old UBRIACO and the 11 others in the IHHF’s Class of 2011 will be inducted on Sun., Jan. 29 at Belvedere Banquet Hall in Elk Grove Village.
The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, native, who played 10 seasons in the American Hockey League and National Hockey League and coached the Pittsburgh Penguins prior to serving as the Wolves first coach, will be enshrined as a “builder.”
“He has done a lot for amateur hockey,” said Norm Spiegel, a local USA Hockey official who’s on the Hall of Fame committee. “He has come through for our programs for so many years.”
Shortly after retiring from the Chicago Blackhawks in 1970, UBRIACO opened a hockey school in Rolling Meadows. The long list of players he tutored includes former standouts such as Tony Granato, Bob Nardella and Rick Zombo.
“I did hockey schools all across the area,” UBRIACO said. “Park Ridge, Naperville, all over the place. It’s nice now. At the Allstate Arena, I’ve got boys, well, men really because they’re in their 40s, coming up to me with their boys and saying, ‘Son, I want you to meet my coach.’ And I always say, ‘It can’t be me. You’re too old.”
UBRIACO and Stan Mikita teamed up in 1974 to start a hockey school for the hearing impaired. UBRIACO continues to work with the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association and helps to select the United States Deaflympic Hockey Team.
UBRIACO also has been honored by the Sault Ste. Marie Hockey Hall of Fame as well as the Maryland Hockey Hall of Fame.