Wranglers celebrate blast from their past

On the cusp of the NHL on several occasions, former Wranglers goaltender Marc Magliarditi never got his shot.

“You see a lot of guys come up out of nowhere, and all it takes is a break,” he said. “Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get a break.”

Helping fill the NHL void in an otherwise stellar 10-year professional hockey career, Magliarditi was inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame this year and recognized for his honor Tuesday night at Orleans Arena during Las Vegas’ 2-1 victory over the Bakersfield Condors.

“Although I spent 10 years at the Double-A (ECHL) and Triple-A (International Hockey League, American Hockey League) level, I still had something to show for it,” Magliarditi, 36, said. “Obviously, the NHL’s the ultimate goal for all of us wherever you’re playing, but if you didn’t get there, it’s kind of nice to have (the Hall of Fame) to reflect.”

“Mags,” who played parts of 10 seasons in the ECHL — along with several stints in the IHL and AHL — is the 25-year-old league’s career leader in shutouts, with 25, and ranks second in wins (217) and minutes played (21,154) and third in games played (366).

A 1995 sixth-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Niagara Falls, N.Y., native won at least 20 games in the ECHL six times and 30 games twice, including his final full season in 2005-06 for the Wranglers, when he went 34-11-5.

He came closest to reaching the NHL early in his career, when he was under contract to the Carolina Hurricanes and played parts of three seasons for Cincinnati, their IHL affiliate.

“I was an injury or someone getting the flu for the weekend from being there,” he said. “I had a chance, when I was in Cincinnati, to pick up a couple of big wins. At that point, it just comes down to a break. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the right timing.”

By the time Magliarditi joined the Wranglers, he was playing mostly for the love of the game and looking for a place to settle down. With a multitude of family members already living here — including his brother, Palms president Joe Magliarditi — Las Vegas was ideal.

Magliarditi thrived for the Wranglers, earning All-Star honors while going 83-45-14 with a 2.46 goals-against average in the franchise’s first four seasons (2003 to 2007) before retiring.

“It was a great experience getting a franchise off the ground,” said Magliarditi, now a local real estate agent. “Those are great times in pro sports when you’re part of something like that.”

■ NOTES — Local product Chris Francis scored the tiebreaking goal at 5:23 of the third period for the short-handed Wranglers, who have won two straight after losing five of six. … Las Vegas will host Games 3, 4 and 5, if necessary, of their best-of-7 first-round ECHL Kelly Cup Playoffs series at 7:05 p.m. April 8 through 10 at Orleans Arena. Their opponent has yet to be determined. Las Vegas (33-29-5, 71 points), which has five regular-season games remaining, is the fifth seed from the Western Conference — one point ahead of No. 6 Colorado (32-28-6, 70) — and most likely will face No. 4 Stockton (34-26-9, 77) or No. 3 Idaho (42-17-7, 91).

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0354.