The first of the five new staffers George McPhee mentioned he has signed to contracts has been announced by the organization. Wil Nichol, formerly an amateur scout with the Washington Capitals, has been introduced as the Director of Player Development.
Nichol becomes the first of what we expect to be many former Capitals staffers that will make the jump to join their old boss in Las Vegas. Nichol was also the coach of the University of Wisconsin-Steven’s Point hockey team from 2007-2011, a team in which he played for from 1994-1998.
With the team not able to add any players to its roster until June of 2017, Nichol will likely act as a scout working with McPhee, McCrimmon and the rest of the staff to be named before transitioning into developing players as the title suggests.
During his coaching tenure at Steven’s Point his team was 46-44-7, qualified for the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) tournament each of his four seasons, and won a tournament game snapping a 12 game losing streak for the school.
His rise has been pretty impressive since finishing his playing career in 1998. He instantly became an assistant with Steven’s Point the following year. He then went on to become the assistant coach of the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League. After a year coaching a junior team, he returned to the Steel as the Head Coach/GM where he won Coach of the Year in 03-04. He was there until 2005 and sent 30 players on to Division I NCAA hockey. Then on to UWSP, then the Capitals, and now officially as the third person hired to the NHL’s 31st franchise.