Gene Ubriaco

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Eugene Stephen Ubriaco (born December 26, 1937 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) is a professional ice hockey executive and former forward who played three NHL seasons and later coached the Birmingham South Stars.


Ubriaco had played nine minor league seasons before the 1967 NHL Expansion gave him the chance to play pro with the newly formed Pittsburgh Penguins. He retired two seasons later in 1970 following 177 NHL games, returning to school to become a coach. Ubriaco recorded 39 goals and 35 assists for 74 career points.

Ubriaco's first coaching job was for the Lake Superior State University hockey program in 19721973. After coaching in three leagues and being named coach of the year in two, he was named head coach of the newly formed Nashville South Stars of the Central Hockey League (CHL) for the 19811982 season.

After the season ended, the South Stars switched to the Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL), but the CHL franchise, including Ubriaco, was brought to Birmingham as the Birmingham South Stars. Despite low attendance and financial problems, Ubriaco took the team to the league's Adams Cup championship series. The team lost the series to the Indianapolis Checkers, five games to two, but Ubriaco was awarded the Jake Milford Trophy as the league's Coach of the Year. After the season close, the club's NHL sponsor, the Minnesota North Stars, pulled their support. The South Star's owners began looking into taking the team to Atlantic Coast Hockey League (ACHL). While those negotiations continued, on August 3, 1983, it was announced that Ubriaco had been named head coach of the American Hockey League's Boston Skipjacks.

Ubriaco stayed with the Skipjacks until 1988, when he became the Pittsburgh Penguins head coach. That year, the team qualified for the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons, but lost to the Philadelphia Flyers in 7 games in the Patrick Division Finals. Ubriaco's Penguins then got off to a slow start in the 19891990 season. Ubriaco as well as the man who hired him, Penguins General Manager Tony Esposito, were both fired in December 1989.

Ubriaco coached the Italian Olympic ice hockey team during the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. His coaching career then brought him to the then IHL's Chicago Wolves, where he coached their inaugural 19941995 team. He currently holds the positions of Director of Hockey Operations and Senior Advisor with the Wolves, now in the AHL.1


Ubriaco and his wife, Nella, were married in 1962. They have a daughter, Francine, and a son, Gene, and live in the Chicago area.[1] Ubriaco is a part-owner of Ubriaco's Take Home Italian Eatery and Ubriaco's Eatery and Pizzeria in Sault Ste. Marie with his daughter and her husband, Chuck Gassi.[2]


  1. Ubriaco at Legends of Hockey. Retrieved November 5, 2007.
  • Gene Ubriaco. (November 29, 2011). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed January 9, 2012.

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