Mark Dennehy has been named the new head coach and director of hockey operations for the Wheeling Nailers, the ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dennehy was introduced at a press conference on Wednesday morning, along with Pittsburgh assistant GM (and Dennehy’s former BC teammate) Bill Guerin.
The ex-Merrimack coach is making the move to professional hockey after 13 years at Merrimack, and 24 years in college hockey.
“It’s exciting to be part of pro hockey,” Dennehy said. “”I’d like to thank Don Rigby, Brian Komorowski and the entire Wheeling Nailers organization, as well as Bill Guerin and the Pittsburgh Penguins organization for this incredibly exciting opportunity. “Everything I’ve heard about Wheeling and the Nailers organization from agents, players and opposing coaches has been positive, and after visiting Wheeling and touring the facilities, I can see why. I’ve heard the support is outstanding as well. It’s a storied team, and I can’t think of a better place to start my professional coaching career.”
Guerin said the Nailers had more than 50 quality applicants for the position, but Dennehy quickly rose to the top of the list after they had their initial discussion.
“I had college coaches, junior coaches, other coaches from the ECHL,” Guerin said. “When Mark and I got in touch with each other, his name went right to the top, to be honest with you. This was a no-brainer for me.
“I’ve seen the work he’s done with Merrimack College. His reputation out in the hockey world is impeccable. He brought that program to a whole new level.”
Dennehy played with Guerin at Boston College, and he’s also a former teammate of current Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, who he played with at B.C. High.
Dennehy is replacing Jeff Christian, who did not have his contract renewed by the organization. In an interview earlier this month with New England Hockey Journal‘s Billy Jaffe, Dennehy mentioned that he would likely work the Pittsburgh Penguins Development Camp this summer.