OHL Alumni Classics: Stan Drulia

stan drulia coach wheeling nailers east coast hockey leagueNot active as a player, Ontario Hockey League alumnus Stan Drulia is still much a part of the professional hockey world. Stan is entering his ninth year of coaching since retiring as a player and his first as head coach of the Wheeling Nailers of the East Coast Hockey League.

Stan Drulia played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League from 1984-85 to 1988-89. Be began his OHL career with the Belleville Bulls. He played his first two seasons in Belleville, highlighted by a 43 goal performance in his sophomore year. In 1986-87, Stan moved to the Hamilton Steelhawks. After two seasons in Hamilton, Drulia followed the team as they picked up and moved down the QEW to Niagara and became the Thunder.

In 1987-88 with the Steelhawks, Stan was sixth on the Ontario Hockey League scoring list with 121 points on 52 goals and 69 assists. In his final season, he was second only to teammate Bryan Fogarty in league scoring with his 145 points on 52 goals and 93 assists. Drulia added 37 points in 17 playoff games that season as the Thunder reached the Robertson Cup finals before losing out the Peterborough Petes in six games.

In that final season, Stan was awarded the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy as the Ontario Hockey League’s best overage player and also the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy as the league’s top scoring right winger.

Drulia was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the eleventh round of the 1986 NHL draft, 214th overall. He would end up his career with 126 NHL games played, all with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played 24 games with Tampa Bay in 1992-93 then didn’t play again in the NHL for six seasons before ending out his NHL career with the Lightning in 1999-00 and 2000-01.

In 1990-91, his one and only season in the ECHL, Stan tallied 140 points in just 64 games for the Knoxville Cherokees en route to becoming the ECHL MVP. That point total stands today as the fourth best single season mark in ECHL history. The following season, Drulia notched 49 goals and 53 assists for 102 points for the New Haven Nighthawks in the higher calibre AHL which placed him third in league scoring.

Drulia’s greatest pro success came in the old IHL. He played eight seasons in the league, including the six between stints with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Twice he was on Turner Cup winning teams, the 1993-94 Atlanta Knights and the 1996-97 Detroit Vipers. Twice he was awarded the N.R. “Bud” Poile Trophy as the league’s playoff MVP, first with those 1993-94 Atlanta Knights and again in 1998-99 with the Vipers despite the team losing in the Turner Cup finals to the Chicago Wolves.

Stan played three seasons with the Atlanta Knights of the IHL from 1993-94 to 1995-96. He will forever be etched in that team’s record books as the player with most career goals, assists and points. Drulia also is second on Atlanta’s all-time games played list and appears in the top ten for all-time penalty minutes. The Knights moved to Quebec City for the 1996-97 season and became the Rafales. The Rafales lasted just two seasons.

Check out Stan Drulia’s Wheeling Nailers at their official website.

This video was a promo that was sent out to Vipers season ticket holders after winning the 1997 Turner Cup. Stan Drulia appears at around the 1:50 mark of the video, scoring a big goal for Detroit.

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