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New Wheeling Nailers coach leaves team before coaching a game

August 6, 2018

Mark Dennehy, hired as head coach of the Wheeling Nailers a little more than two months ago, has left the Penguins ECHL affiliate before ever coaching a game for the team.

Dennehy was hired as head coach of the Binghamton Devils, New Jersey’s AHL affiliate, in a move announced Wednesday.

“I’m sorry that my time in Wheeling was so short,” Dennehy said in a Nailers press release. “Wheeling is a great city and the Nailers are a first-class organization.”

Dennehy was hired by the Nailers on May 29 after being fired in March by Merrimack University, where he coached for the previous 13 seasons. Dennehy was a college teammate of Penguins assistant general manager Bill Guerin and a high school teammate of coach Mike Sullivan.

The Binghamton job opened up when Rick Kowalsky was promoted to an assistant coaching position with New Jersey on July 23. Dennehy was hired by Devils assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald, who formerly held the same position with the Penguins.

The Nailers and the Penguins front office will begin a search for a new head coach with about two months to go before the ECHL club’s Oct. 13 season opener.

“Unfortunately, this is what can happen in minor league hockey,” Nailers governor Don Rigby said in a 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.”

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