Tonight, June 28th, 2018, at the Marconi Cultural Centre, was a memorable night for Gene Ubriaco and Lou Nanne. The two men were awarded the prestigious Justice I. A Vannini Award.
The award was established April 18, 1998 to recognize individuals or groups who have achieved distinction in academics, cultural or athletic fields or have made an outstanding contribution at local, national or international level.
Gene Ubriaco had a storied hockey career. Among playing in Toronto, Sudbury, and Pittsburgh, he played 5 seasons in the NHL amassing 177 games played and scored 74 points. He also played in 11 playoff games, notching a pair of goals.
A true inspiration, he spent 11 seasons playing professional hockey before cracking into an NHL lineup. When asked about what it takes to accomplish dreams, he simply said “perseverance”.
Mr. Ubriaco also had a storied coaching career. Over a span of 22 years, he coached at a handful of different levels of hockey, including being the head coach of the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins for two seasons from 1988-90. He most recently coached the Chicago Wolves of the AHL in 2006.
Gene now finds himself creating sketches that depict how he remembered the Sault growing up. At the Marconi during the celebration, he had copies of his sketches on display and for sale, with 100% of the proceeds going directly back into the Marconi, something that Marconi representatives could not express more appreciation for.
Lou Nanne also has a long storied career with hockey.
Mr. Nanne had suited up in NHL gear, and also suited up in general manager role. As a defenceman he played in over 600 games, amassing an impressive 225 points, but also wasn’t someone to shy away from the rough and tough style of hockey that mimicked the play of the era.
Nanne credited his greatest success to the time when he was the General Manager of the Minnesota North Stars. He managed to quickly rebuild the team and they fought all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. Lou was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2004 as a player and you can also find his name up in the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.