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Mike Nardella has been a Chicago hockey institution since the 1930s, when he was caught pilfering some sticks during a Black Hawks game and forced to perform restitution by working for the team’s equipment manager.

Hired as the Wolves hockey operations advisor upon the team’s inception in 1994, Nardella has helped the franchise in numerous ways over the years. Among other things, Nardella worked with Mayor Richard M. Daley to have championship banners placed at City Hall and O’Hare Airport after the Wolves won their first Turner Cup in 1998.

Nardella earned a Purple Heart while serving in Patton’s Third Army during World War II. He was part of the mechanized cavalry, which served as the advance group that defused and secured bridges to help Patton’s men march through Europe. As part of his tour of duty, Nardella landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy on D-Day Plus 15.