Two months after hiring Mark Dennehy, the Nailers are again searching for a new head coach.
The Binghamton Devils, AHL affiliate of the New Jersey Devils, have named Dennehy their new bench boss.
Tom Fitzgerald, assistant general manager of New Jersey and general manager of Binghamton (and former assistant general manager of the Penguins) announced on July 24 that Binghamton would begin the search for a new head coach. The Penguins granted Dennehy permission to speak with the Devils, and he got the job a week later.
“I want to thank Jim Rutherford, Bill Guerin, the Penguins’ organization and the Wheeling Nailers ownership group for the opportunity to speak with Mark on this position,” Fitzgerald said in a Devils team release. “Mark has spent considerable time building, coaching and recruiting in one of college hockey’s most competitive conferences. His experience will help him connect with players coming from the collegiate and junior hockey levels. Mark is extremely excited for a new challenge and to take the next step in his coaching career.”
Nailers Governor Don Rigby announced that the team became aware of Dennehy's departure over the weekend, and that the search for a new leader is already underway.
"Unfortunately, this is what can happen in minor league hockey," Rigby said in a team release. "The ECHL is a developmental league for both players and coaches, and while we are disappointed with Coach Dennehy's departure, we wish him only great success in Binghamton. We have begun a search for a coach with the assistance of the Pittsburgh Penguins. We are confident that our search process will identify another high quality head coach."
"I'm sorry that my time in Wheeling was so short," Dennehy said. "Wheeling is a great city and the Nailers are a first class organization."
In May, Dennehy replaced Jeff Christian as Wheeling's head coach, who was head coach for the past two seasons. Christian’s contract was not renewed after the Nailers missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, and multiple women came forward with allegations of inappropriate conduct from Christian on social media. Prior to Christian, the head coach was the late Dave Gove, who left the team for personal reasons while facing drug addiction.