Over the weekend former Coyote Joe Vitale was inducted into the St. Louis Amateur Hockey Hall of Fame.
Vitale a native of St. Louis played High School hockey in St. Louis with the Christian Brothers College High School team and with the St. Louis Jr. Blues in the Central States Hockey League.
Vitale would sign a three-year deal with the Coyotes in 2014 after spending his career with the team that drafted him 195th overall, the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was brought in to add a veteran presence to bottom line and help win faceoffs. He would finish fourth on the team in faceoff wins behind Antoine Vermette, Kyle Chipchura, and Sam Gagner.
In his first season with the Coyotes, he would finish with three goals and six assists, good enough for his second-highest goals scored and his third-highest points total. While not great numbers, he largely met expectations when the team signed him.
Unfortunately, things would turn around for Vitale the next season. He would be a healthy scratch for the start of the 2015-16 season and would sit the first four games. His first game of the season was against the Boston Bruins, which saw him being injured in a fight with Kevan Miller. He would fracture his orbital bone and would miss the rest of the season with concussion issues.
Vitale would unfortunately not recover and his career as a player was over. On June 24th, 2016 the Coyotes would trade Vitale, the 20th overall pick, and the 53rd overall pick for Pavel Datsyuk’s contract and the 16th overall pick. Datsyuk had announced that he would be playing in Russia for the final year of his contract with the Detroit Red Wings and the deal was largely to help give the Red Wings’ cap room. The Coyotes would use the pick to draft defenseman Jakob Chychrun.
Since 2018 Vitale has been serving as a radio color analyst for the Blues on KMOX. After an unfortunate end to his career, it’s great to see that he has found a way to stay in the game as an analyst.