TEAM NEWS

Nailers Announce Season-Ending Roster
Wheeling Lists 20 Players; Teams May Begin Signing Players for 2021-22

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their Season-Ending Roster for the Summer of 2021. The roster consists of 20 players.

Season-Ending Rosters may include up to 20 players, and cannot include any players who did not sign an ECHL contract in 2020-21. From this list, teams are entitled to reserve rights to the maximum of eight players, by extending a qualifying offer to them by July 23rd. No more than four of the eight can be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games), players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded, and if a player signs a contract prior to July 23rd, that team does not have to extend a qualifying offer to said player. If a player does receive a qualifying offer, that offer remains open for acceptance until August 9th.

Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season. A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player, or to a goaltender who has played more than 180 regular-season games, will retain the rights to that player until August 9. After August 9, if the veteran player or goaltender is not signed to a contract by the team, the veteran or goaltender shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other ECHL teams. Restricted free agents may not be traded. When a restricted free agent receives a contract offer from a team other than the team with the player’s rights and the restricted free agent wishes to accept the contract offer, the restricted free agent and the offering member must, within 24 hours, notify the ECHL, the team with the player’s rights and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association. The member with the player’s rights shall have seven days after the date it is notified to exercise its right to match the contract offer. If a restricted free agent is not signed to either an offer sheet or a contract by an ECHL team by August 16, the player shall be deemed an unrestricted free agent.

The Wheeling Nailers Season-Ending Roster consists of the following players:
F Matt Alfaro
F Jared Cockrell
F Jake Coughler
F Tim Doherty
D Matt Foley
G Louis-Philip Guindon
F Brendan Harris
F Jack Jenkins
F Sean Josling
F Tad Kozun
D Jesse Lees
F Darby Llewellyn
D Dylan MacPherson
D Patrick McNally
D Matt Miller
F Jacob Pritchard
D Adam Smith
D Matthew Spencer
D Aaron Thow
F Patrick Watling

Nailers Complete Future Considerations Trades
Wheeling Gains the Rights to Five Players from Orlando & Utah

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced the completions of their future considerations trades.

During the 2020-21 season, the Nailers made three trades that involved future considerations. The first deal took place in March, as the Nailers sent forward Hayden Hodgson to the Utah Grizzlies. In return, Wheeling receives the rights to forward Jack Jenkins. The second trade also took place in March, as the Nailers received defenseman Jesse Lees from the South Carolina Stingrays. To complete that deal, Wheeling has sent the rights to forward Lawton Courtnall to South Carolina. Finally, in April, the Nailers dealt forward Michael Joly to the Orlando Solar Bears. That trade produces the largest return, as Wheeling receives the rights to forward Jake Coughler, forward Tad Kozun, defenseman Matthew Spencer, and forward Darby Llewellyn. Llewellyn was first acquired by Orlando in a future considerations trade from the Tulsa Oilers.

Jenkins, 25, is going into his third professional season, after playing the first two years of his career with the Grizzlies. Jack began his rookie season with Utah in November of the 2019-20 season, and really hit his stride in January and February, as he notched seven goals, 18 assists, and 25 points in 52 games. This past season, the Lake Bluff, Illinois native was ready to go as soon as the puck hit the ice, as he opened the campaign with a three-game point streak, en route to six goals, 11 assists, and 17 points in 60 games. Jenkins and Ty Lewis are the only two players who registered at least 100 shots on goal in each of the last two seasons for the Grizzlies. Jack played his college hockey at the University of Notre Dame.

Coughler, 25, appeared in 58 games over the course of two seasons with the Solar Bears and certainly made the most of his time, as he racked up 27 goals, 18 assists, and 45 points. Jake started his pro career in Slovakia in 2019, before returning to North America to sign with Orlando. December and January was Coughler's best stretch during his rookie season, as he collected at least one point in eight of 11 games, but he did save his best for last, as his final weekend of that year featured a four-point game, including two assists in the final minute, as the Solar Bears rallied back from a 4-2 deficit to beat the Norfolk Admirals, 5-4. Jake's best run in 2020-21 saw him appear on the scoresheet in nine of 11 games during February and March, including his first career hat trick on February 28th in Jacksonville. The St. Catherines, Ontario native played junior hockey in the QMJHL, then played two seasons at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Kozun, 28, is a name that Nailers fans will recognize, as his younger brother Taran was a goaltender for Wheeling this past season. Tad has played in parts of four seasons in the ECHL, as he began his career with the South Carolina Stingrays, then went on to the Kansas City Mavericks, before landing in Orlando. Kozun's rookie season with the Stingrays in 2018-19 was his most electric, as he finished fourth on the squad with 50 points, while accumulating 109 penalty minutes to rank third on the team in that category. The Nipawin, Saskatchewan native compiled 25 points in 52 games with Kansas City in 2019-20, then tallied 13 points in 42 games with the Solar Bears this past season. Similar to his brother, Tad also got an education while playing his amateur hockey, but he did so in the NCAA at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

Spencer, 24, is set to begin his fifth season as a pro, after spending significant time in both the AHL and ECHL during his first four years. Matthew was originally selected in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and he played 39 of his 53 games as a rookie with their AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. After notching 15 points and a +15 rating in his second pro season with Orlando, the Guelph, Ontario native was traded to the Buffalo Sabres, which led him to 17 points and a +13 rating with the first place Cincinnati Cyclones, before the 2019-20 season was stopped due to the pandemic. Spencer is coming off of his most productive season as a pro, as he returned to the Solar Bears and led the team's blueliners with nine goals, while finishing second among defensemen with 22 points. Matthew played junior hockey with the OHL's Peterborough Petes.

Llewellyn, 24, also has family ties to the Nailers, as his older brother Tristin played for the team during the 2014-15 season. Darby got his pro career started in 2017-18 with the Atlanta Gladiators and had great success, as he lit the lamp 17 times, while totaling 30 points in 66 games. Llewellyn followed that up with 23 points in 44 games for the Rapid City Rush, before spending the 2019-20 season in the Czech Republic. The Ann Arbor, Michigan native returned to the ECHL this past season with the Tulsa Oilers, and produced seven points in 44 games, while providing lots of sparks as a physical, high-energy player. One of his goals this past season was the opening marker in a 4-2 win at Wheeling on February 4th. Llewellyn played his entire junior hockey career with the OHL's Kitchener Rangers.

The next key date in the 2021 offseason is Season Ending Rosters due Thursday at 3:00. That roster can include up to 20 players. Players may begin signing contracts for the 2021-22 season on Friday.

The Wheeling Nailers are just a few months away from beginning their 30th season. The puck drops in Fort Wayne on October 23rd, before the Nailers play their home opener against the Komets on Saturday, November 6th at 7:10. Season memberships are available, and fans can get more information by calling (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.

Nailers Announce 2021 Protected List
Wheeling's List Consists of 30 Players

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their 2021 Protected List.

Teams are allowed to protect as many players as they wish provided the players protected meet the guidelines as defined in the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association which state that teams shall retain the rights to each player that:

1. Signed an SPC in 2020-21 with the Member, and has not been traded or released, OR
2. Signed an SPC in 2020-21, and was recalled to the NHL/AHL or IIHF team, and has not been traded or released, OR
3. Had received a Qualifying Offer last summer for the current Season, DID NOT sign an SPC, and has not been traded or released, OR
4. Has been suspended by the Member or League, and has not been traded or released, OR
5. Signed an SPC on or after the first day of the 2020-21 Regular Season, then subsequently signed an NHL/AHL contract, and has not been traded or released, OR
6. Has executed the ECHL Retirement Form, and has not been traded or released.

Any Player who had originally signed with one of the 12 Teams not participating in the 2020-21 Season, and went on to sign with one of the 2020-21 Active Teams, shall have his Player Rights revert back to the original Member Team’s Protected List. Any Player who was issued a Qualifying Offer by a Member that elected Pandemic Voluntary Suspension, but never signed the Qualifying Offer, shall be declared a Free Agent for the 2021-22 Season. Any Player signed as an Amateur prior to the 2020-21 Season (i.e. straight out of college or juniors with zero pro experience) whose Member Team elected to take Pandemic Voluntary Suspension, and who subsequently did not play in the ECHL during the 2020-21 Season, may be voluntarily omitted from his Member's Protected List without penalty.

The Wheeling Nailers Protected List consists of the following 30 players:
F Matt Alfaro
F Cam Brown
F Jared Cockrell
F Lawton Courtnall
F Tim Doherty
F Tyler Drevitch
F Brad Drobot
D Chad Duchesne
D Matt Foley
F Austin Fyten
G Louis-Philip Guindon
F Brendan Harris
F Garet Hunt
D Steve Johnson
F Sean Josling
F Jackson Keane
G Taran Kozun
D Shane Kuzmeski
D Jesse Lees
D Dylan MacPherson
D Patrick McNally
D Matt Miller
D Michael Prapavessis
F Jacob Pritchard
F Ryan Roth
D Adam Smith
D Aaron Thow
F Brady Tomlak
F Patrick Watling
F Joshua Winquist

This is the first key date for ECHL teams in June. The next two key dates are July 5th, when all future considerations trades must be completed, then July 8th, when Season Ending Rosters are due.

2020-2021 SEASON TEAM AWARDS
We had some players who enjoyed great success this season, so let's see who took home the hardware!

Project Best presents the Leading Scorer Award to Cody Sylvester

Main St. Bank presents the Plus/Minus Award to Matt Miller

WesBanco presents the Defensive MVP Award to Adam Smith

WesBanco presents the Offensive MVP Award to Austin Fyten

WVU Medicine/Reynolds Memorial Hospital presents the Rookie of the Year Award to Matt Alfaro

Riesbeck’s Food Markets presents Fan Choice Player Award to Dylan MacPherson

Players Player Award goes to Austin Fyten

Unsung Hero Award goes to Nick Rivera

Carpets by Jamison presents the Top Star award to Cody Sylvester

Nailers Name Derek Army Head Coach, Remove Interim Tag
Wheeling Fan Favorite Remains Behind the Bench for Team's 30th Season

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that they have removed the interim tag from Derek Army, making him the team's head coach.

"Derek's passion for the City of Wheeling and the Nailers organization is something that we truly cherish, as he is an excellent person to have represent us in the community, and he will use that energy in helping to recruit high quality players," said Nailers President Brian Komorowski. "We are ecstatic that Derek was able to begin not only his playing career here, but his head coaching career as well."

Army, 30, began his journey with the Nailers as a player, when he came to Wheeling following the end of his collegiate career at Providence College in April, 2014. Derek suited up in four regular season games and three playoff contests that spring, leading into his rookie season the following year. 2014-15 was a dynamic one for Army both on and off the ice, as he led the team with 29 goals, while becoming an instant fan favorite. Derek and his teammates gave the Wheeling fans lots to cheer about in his second pro season, as the Nailers won the Eastern Conference Championship. Army contributed four goals during that memorable run, including a go-ahead marker in game seven of the second round against Reading and a game winner in the conference final round against South Carolina. Derek donned the captain's "C" in each of his final two seasons in Nail City - both of which also featured time in the American Hockey League.

"I am very thankful to Brian, RED, the Nailers, and everyone in the Pittsburgh organization for this opportunity," Army said. "Wheeling has been my second home, and my family and I are thrilled to be part of a community that has meant so much to me. This season was a great learning experience for me, as it helps to set the foundation for the future. I am excited for the challenges to come, as we look to compete for a Kelly Cup, while developing exciting young talent for the Penguins organization."

I am very excited to continue representing the Nailers and the City of Wheeling. Wheeling has been my second home, and my family is very happy to be back. I was able to learn a lot this year. As a young coach and a young team, we continued to establish an identity that will pay dividends as we move into next season. I am excited for the challenges to come, continuing to develop players for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, getting back into the ECHL playoffs, and competing for a Kelly Cup Championship."

After wrapping up his career as a player in 2018, the North Kingstown, Rhode Island native dove directly into coaching, as he followed in the footsteps of his father Tim, who is currently the head coach of the AHL's Iowa Wild. Derek's coaching career began with the Worcester Railers, as he worked under Jamie Russell, who was one of his assistant coaches at Providence College. Russell and Army worked together in Worcester for parts of two seasons.

"We are pleased to have Derek back as our head coach for the 2021-22 campaign," said Pittsburgh Penguins Manager of Hockey Operations Erik Heasley. "Derek is well regarded in the ECHL and the Wheeling community from his playing career with the Nailers, and we are excited to have him lead the franchise moving forward."

In the summer of 2020, Derek got the opportunity to return to the city who gave him his first pro hockey opportunity, as the Nailers had a pair of coaching vacancies. After hiring Mark French as the team's head coach, Wheeling immediately knew that Army was the top candidate to be the team's assistant coach, as he was hired just 11 days later. French resigned as head coach to be with his family on April 21st, at which point, Derek took the reins as interim head coach. Four days after that, Army got to celebrate his first win as head coach, with his wife Jenn and son Boone in the arena, as the Nailers defeated the Fort Wayne Komets, 5-3 on home ice.

Derek is the 20th head coach in Wheeling history, and the Army family is in the process of relocating to Wheeling.

Nailers Announce 2021-22 Schedule
Wheeling's Home Opener for Season 30 is November 6th vs. Fort Wayne

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their schedule for the 2021-22 season - the 30th season of professional hockey in Wheeling.

The Nailers have a very family friendly schedule, as 33 of the team's 36 home games will be played either on weekends or holidays, including Thanksgiving Eve, the traditional New Year's Eve game, and for the first time ever at home, New Year's Day. Wheeling will play the majority of its schedule (55 of 72 games) against the Central Division, as long time rivals Cincinnati, Toledo, and Kalamazoo return after a one-year absence, while the new team in Coralville, Iowa will also be part of the mix. The Nailers will see a total of 12 different opponents, as Atlanta, Kansas City, Norfolk, Orlando, Reading, and Wichita are all on the schedule as well. The most frequent opponent will have a rivalry carry over from this season, as the Nailers and Indy Fuel will face-off 13 times. Game times will be the same as 2020-21, as Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday games will begin at 7:10, Sunday games will begin at 4:10, and New Year's Eve will begin at 6:10.

The season will begin with four straight road games in four different cities. Wheeling opens in Fort Wayne on Saturday, October 23rd, then visits three places in a row for the first times ever - Iowa, Kansas City, and Wichita. Those will be the only four games in October.

The home opener will be part of a home opening weekend to jump start season number 30, as the Nailers will host the Komets on Saturday, November 6th, before a tussle with the Fuel on Sunday, November 7th. November is a relatively light month at home, as there are only five games, with one more visit each from Fort Wayne and Indy, as well as the first look at the Cincinnati Cyclones on the 13th. The final home game of the month is Thanksgiving Eve - November 24th.

December gets rolling with four home games in the first two weekends, and three of those four games will be played against Cincinnati, as that rivalry gets heated up again. Wheeling travels to Norfolk for three games right before the holiday break, before returning home to challenge the Cyclones on December 26th. Finally, the calendar year will come to a close with the 28th New Year's Eve home game, as the Admirals make their way to Nail City.

After a night full of celebrating, the Nailers and Norfolk will be ready to roll again the next night, as the two sides will have a rematch on New Year's Day. January is one of the busier months of the season, as there are seven home games and 14 games overall, but there will be plenty of new faces. Reading and Kalamazoo make their first visits of the year, Wheeling goes to Orlando right before the 2022 ECHL All-Star Classic in Jacksonville, then Iowa plays its first two games in West Virginia on January 22nd and 23rd.

In years past, February was traditionally a road heavy month, but that'll be the opposite in 2021-22, as eight of the ten games will be played on home ice. The month starts with a 3-in-3 home weekend against three different teams (Indy, Iowa, Cincinnati), then on February 11th, the Atlanta Gladiators will come to Wheeling for the first time since March of 2013, when they were known as the Gwinnett Gladiators. After a visit from the Komets, the month concludes with a home-and-home set against the Royals, in addition to two home games against the Wings.

Although their farthest trip in March is only 384 miles to Kalamazoo, the Nailers will put on a lot of mileage, as nine of their 14 contests that month will be played in enemy territory. Those nine games will be played in six different cities - everywhere in the division except for Coralville, plus a Saturday venture to Reading. Oddly enough, Wednesday March 9th is the first time Wheeling fans will see the Walleye at WesBanco Arena, as they help set the stage for a two-game weekend set against the Royals.

The season typically winds its way down in April, but this will be a sprint to the finish, with nine games in 16 days. All nine games will be against divisional foes, and five of the nine will be played at home. The regular season will conclude with the same team as it started with, as the Nailers will host the Komets on Friday, April 15th, before traveling to Fort Wayne on Saturday, April 16th.

2021-22 Opponent Breakdown
13 vs. Indy - 7 home, 6 away
10 vs. Cincinnati - 6 home, 4 away
10 vs. Fort Wayne - 5 home, 5 away
8 vs. Kalamazoo - 5 home, 3 away
7 vs. Toledo - 3 home, 4 away
7 vs. Iowa - 3 home, 4 away
6 vs. Reading - 4 home, 2 away
5 vs. Norfolk - 2 home, 3 away
3 vs. Orlando - 3 away
1 vs. Atlanta - home
1 vs. Kansas City - away
1 vs. Wichita - away

2021-22 Schedule
Sat. Oct. 23 at Fort Wayne, 8:00
Wed. Oct. 27 at Iowa, 8:00
Fri. Oct. 29 at Kansas City, 8:05
Sat. Oct. 30 at Wichita, 8:00
Sat. Nov. 6 vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10
Sun. Nov. 7 vs. Fort Wayne, 4:10
Fri. Nov. 12 at Toledo, 7:15
Sat. Nov. 13 vs. Cincinnati, 7:10
Sun. Nov. 14 vs. Fort Wayne, 4:10
Fri. Nov. 19 at Indy, 7:00
Sat. Nov. 20 at Fort Wayne 7:30
Wed. Nov. 24 vs. Indy, 7:10
Fri. Nov. 26 at Iowa, 8:00
Sat. Nov. 27 at Iowa, 8:00
Fri. Dec. 3 vs. Cincinnati, 7:10
Sat. Dec. 4 at Toledo, 7:15
Sun. Dec. 5 vs. Indy, 4:10
Wed. Dec. 8 at Cincinnati, 7:35
Sat. Dec. 11 vs. Cincinnati, 7:10
Sun. Dec. 12 vs. Cincinnati, 4:10
Wed. Dec. 15 at Norfolk, 7:30
Fri. Dec. 17 at Norfolk, 7:30
Sat. Dec. 18 at Norfolk, 7:30
Sun. Dec. 26 vs. Cincinnati, 4:10
Fri. Dec. 31 vs. Norfolk, 6:10
Sat. Jan. 1 vs. Norfolk, 7:10
Wed. Jan. 5 vs. Reading, 7:10
Fri. Jan. 7 at Indy, 7:00
Sat. Jan. 8 vs. Indy, 7:10
Sun. Jan. 9 vs. Kalamazoo, 4:10
Fri. Jan. 14 at Orlando, 7:00
Sat. Jan. 15 at Orlando, 7:00
Sun. Jan. 16 at Orlando, 3:00
Fri. Jan. 21 vs. Kalamazoo, 7:10
Sat. Jan. 22 vs. Iowa, 7:10
Sun. Jan. 23 vs. Iowa, 4:10
Wed. Jan. 26 at Cincinnati, 7:35
Fri. Jan. 28 at Cincinnati, 7:35
Sat. Jan. 29 at Toledo, 7:15
Fri. Feb. 4 vs. Indy, 7:10
Sat. Feb. 5 vs. Iowa, 7:10
Sun. Feb. 6 vs. Cincinnati, 4:10
Wed. Feb. 9 at Kalamazoo, 7:00
Fri. Feb. 11 vs. Atlanta, 7:10
Sat. Feb. 12 vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10
Sat. Feb. 19 at Reading, 6:00
Wed. Feb. 23 vs. Reading, 7:10
Fri. Feb. 25 vs. Kalamazoo, 7:10
Sat. Feb. 26 vs. Kalamazoo, 7:10
Wed. Mar. 2 at Toledo, 7:15
Sat. Mar. 5 at Reading, 6:00
Wed. Mar. 9 vs. Toledo, 7:10
Fri. Mar. 11 at Cincinnati, 7:35
Sat. Mar. 12 vs. Reading, 7:10
Sun. Mar. 13 vs. Reading, 4:10
Fri. Mar. 18 at Indy, 7:00
Sat. Mar. 19 at Indy, 7:00
Sun. Mar. 20 at Kalamazoo, 3:00
Wed. Mar. 23 at Indy, 7:00
Fri. Mar. 25 vs. Kalamazoo, 7:10
Sat. Mar. 26 vs. Indy, 7:10
Sun. Mar. 27 at Fort Wayne, 5:00
Wed. Mar. 30 at Fort Wayne, 7:30
Fri. Apr. 1 vs. Indy, 7:10
Sun. Apr. 3 vs. Fort Wayne, 4:10
Wed. Apr. 6 at Iowa, 8:00
Fri. Apr. 8 at Indy, 7:00
Sat. Apr. 9 vs. Toledo, 7:10
Sun. Apr. 10 vs. Toledo, 4:10
Wed. Apr. 13 at Kalamazoo, 7:00
Fri. Apr. 15 vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10
Sat. Apr. 16 at Fort Wayne, 7:30

Patrick Watling Named Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week
Forward Earns the Honor for the Second Time with Seven-Point Week, Including Four-Goal Game

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that Patrick Watling has been chosen as the Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week for May 3-9.

On Saturday night, Watling recorded the 14th four-goal game in Wheeling history as part of a five-point performance in the team's 8-5 victory over the Jacksonville Icemen. Patrick's first goal gave the Nailers a 3-2 lead in the second period, then his second tally was a key insurance marker that made the score 5-3 heading into intermission. His hat trick was completed on the power play to make the score 6-4, then with just over a second to go, he put the finishing touches on the win with an empty netter. Watling was the only Wheeling player to collect at least one point in all three games of the weekend set against the Icemen, as he dished out an assist on Friday, then scored a breakaway goal on Sunday.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native's performance this week helped him climb into second place on the team in scoring, as he now has 12 goals, 24 assists, and 36 points in 39 games. His 0.92 points per game rate is the best on the team for any player who has played in at least half of the games. Patrick's 36 points match his career high, which he originally achieved during the 2016-17 season as a member of the Orlando Solar Bears.

This is the second time this season that Watling has been named Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week, as he also took home the honor for January 25-31. He is the first Nailer since 2018-19 to be a repeat winner in the same season, as Cam Brown and Nick Saracino both did so that year. Cody Sylvester was selected as Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week earlier this season as well, giving the Nailers three this season.

On behalf of Patrick Watling, a case of pucks will be donated to a Wheeling youth hockey organization by Inglasco, the exclusive puck supplier of the ECHL. Since beginning its sponsorship of the award in 2000-01, Inglasco has donated more than 43,000 pucks to youth hockey organizations in ECHL cities.

Brad Drobot Retires, Named Interim Assistant Coach
Fan Favorite Ends Seven-Year Pro Playing Career to Go Behind the Bench

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced that Brad Drobot has retired as a player and been named the team's Interim Assistant Coach.

"We have relied on Brad a lot, and he has been awesome for us as a staff," said Nailers Interim Head Coach Derek Army. "He is a good fit for us, as he connects well with our players, and this is a great opportunity for him to begin his coaching career."

Drobot, 31, wraps up a seven-year playing career, which saw him play in the SPHL for four years, before getting his opportunity to play three seasons in the ECHL with the Nailers. As a player, Brad was known for his physicality, as he dropped the gloves on ten occasions during his time in Wheeling, including a pair of memorable bouts this season. Similar to Interim Head Coach Derek Army, he is also adored by the fan base, as his outgoing personality and community efforts are among the best in the organization.

"I am very thankful that the Wheeling Nailers have given me this opportunity," Drobot said. "I was preparing to make the jump into coaching at the end of the season, so to be able to start now is huge. I am looking forward to absorbing as much as I can from Derek, while assisting him as best as I can.

Mark French Resigns as Nailers Head Coach
Derek Army Named Interim Head Coach

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced that Head Coach Mark French has resigned from his position with the organization. Derek Army has been named interim head coach.

"It's never easy to have to make a move of this nature during the course of the season, but we support Mark's decision to be with his family, and are thankful for everything he did for our organization," said Nailers President Brian Komorowski. "We are excited to give Derek this opportunity, as he has a phenomenal work ethic and outstanding values on what it means to be a Wheeling Nailer."

For the past six months, French has been unable to visit with his family, due to strict COVID protocols and border restrictions. After much consideration, he has determined that the best decision is to resign and return home to be with his family in Prince Edward Island, Canada.

"I appreciated my time in Wheeling and the relationships I was able to develop in a short amount of time, but right now, I felt like I needed to put my family first," French said. "Getting to know Derek as a person and as a coach, I am confident that he will do a great job for the organization."

Mark was named the 19th head coach in Wheeling history on June 8, 2020, and went on to coach 46 games, as the team compiled a 16-24-6 record, good for 38 points. The Nailers stumbled out of the gates by winning just two of their first 11 games, but have since rebounded to go 6-1-1 in their last eight, which includes a five-game point streak on home ice.

"We appreciate Mark's contributions to the team, but understand the stress that the pandemic has had on so many," said Pittsburgh Penguins Manager of Hockey Operations Erik Heasley. "The organization has confidence in Derek Army to fulfill the duties of interim head coach. We will begin to look to add to the coaching staff immediately."

Army, 30, takes the role of interim head coach, after serving as French's assistant for the opening 46 games of the season. Derek previously worked as an assistant coach for parts of two seasons with the Worcester Railers, following the end of his four-year professional playing career.

"I'm thankful for every second that I was able to spend with Mark, as I was able to learn about how he handles the players, systems, and situations. There is a reason he has won everywhere he has been. Family comes first, so I support his decision to be with them," Army said. "I loved being a player here and an assistant coach here, and I especially enjoy being part of this community. I am extremely thankful to Don Rigby, Brian Komorowski, and the Pittsburgh Penguins for giving me this opportunity, and I am excited to take on this next challenge."

A couple of forwards who recently played in the NCAA National Tournament are headed our way.
Brendan Harris comes to us from 
@BSUBeaversMHKY
Jared Cockrell comes to us from 
@SCSUHUSKIES_MH

So Fan's Welcome....



















@brendan23harris                                                 @jared_cockrell

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You're already following the Wheeling Nailers team accounts on social media - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Now, make sure you're following all of the players!

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Nailers Trade Michael Joly to Orlando
Wheeling Receives Multiple Future Considerations; McNally Trade from February Completed

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced a trade. Wheeling has traded forward Michael Joly to the Orlando Solar Bears in exchange for multiple future considerations. This also completes a trade from earlier in the season, when the Nailers acquired defenseman Patrick McNally.

Joly, 25, signed with Wheeling just before the 2020-21 season, after spending the previous three years with the Colorado Eagles (two AHL, one ECHL). Michael continued to produce as a point-per-game player in the ECHL, as he tallied eight goals, 13 assists, and 21 points in 20 games with the Nailers. He also appeared in three AHL contests with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and collected one assist.

McNally, 29, currently leads the Nailers in defensive scoring, as he has racked up seven goals, 14 assists, and 21 points in 34 games since the trade, giving him 26 points in 49 games on the season. This is Patrick's sixth professional season and fourth in North America, as he played in two seasons with the AHL's San Jose Barracuda and one year with the ECHL's Worcester Railers. The Glen Head, New York native has 50 points in 78 career ECHL contests.

The future considerations portion of the trade will be completed after the season and prior to the July 5th 3:00 p.m. deadline.

Cody Sylvester Named Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week
Forward's Six-Point Week Helped Nailers Beat Jacksonville, Indy, Fort Wayne

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that forward Cody Sylvester has been chosen as the Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week for March 29-April 4.

Sylvester, 28, has been on a tear in recent weeks, as he has made his way onto the scoresheet in five of the last seven games. After finishing the previous week with a two-assist game in Florida, Cody picked up right where he left off, lighting the lamp twice in Thursday's 5-3 comeback win over Jacksonville. His first goal of the night tied the score at three, then his second gave the Nailers a 4-3 lead and ended up standing as the game winning marker. Sylvester also recorded an assist on Thursday. Then, on Saturday, the Kelowna, British Columbia native played a big role in Wheeling's 6-3 triumph at Fort Wayne, recording a goal and two assists. His goal came shorthanded and it snapped a 2-2 tie in the final minute of the first period, while his second helper came on a key insurance tally by Patrick Watling, which put the Nailers ahead by two with under ten minutes to go.

Thanks to his red hot run, Cody has climbed into a tie for the team lead with 16 goals, and his 31 points have brought him into the ECHL's top 20. Sylvester's 11 special teams points and 100 shots on goal are the most on Wheeling's roster, while his two game winning goals are also tied for the team lead. He is the second Nailer to be named Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week this season (Watling), and this is the third time he has received this honor in his career, as he accomplished the feat twice with Wheeling in 2013-14.

On behalf of Cody Sylvester, a case of pucks will be donated to a Wheeling youth hockey organization by Inglasco, the exclusive puck supplier of the ECHL. Since beginning its sponsorship of the award in 2000-01, Inglasco has donated more than 43,000 pucks to youth hockey organizations in ECHL cities.

Patrick Watling Named Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week
Four-Assist Game on Sunday Capped off Six-Point Week for Wheeling's Leading Scorer

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that forward Patrick Watling has been chosen as the Inglasco ECHL Player of the Week for January 25-31.

Watling was a big contributor to Wheeling's offense last week, as he factored into the scoring on six of the team's eight goals in two games. On Saturday, Patrick assisted on the second and fourth markers, as the Nailers dropped a 5-4 decision at home against the Indy Fuel. Then, on Sunday, the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native dished out a helper on all four strikes by his squad, as Wheeling came back to knock off Indy 4-3 in overtime on the road. Watling's final three assists were all of the primary variety, as he set up Hayden Hodgson, Joshua Winquist, and Cody Sylvester.

This is Patrick's fourth season of professional hockey, as he spent the majority of his first three seasons with the Orlando Solar Bears, in addition to 29 games with the Toronto Marlies and a pair of contests with the Tulsa Oilers. In Saturday's tilt, Watling eclipsed the 100-point mark for his pro career, and he is currently leading the Nailers in assists (9), points (12), and shots on goal (27). Before returning to the ECHL this year, Patrick played two seasons of university hockey at the University of New Brunswick.

On behalf of Patrick Watling, a case of pucks will be donated to a Wheeling youth hockey organization by Inglasco, the exclusive puck supplier of the ECHL. Since beginning its sponsorship of the award in 2000-01, Inglasco has donated more than 43,000 pucks to youth hockey organizations in ECHL cities.

Nailers and Stingrays Games Postponed This Weekend

WHEELING, WV- The ECHL has announced that the Wheeling Nailers vs. South Carolina Stingrays games, scheduled for Friday, January 22nd and Saturday, January 23rd, and Sunday, January 24th have been postponed, per league safety protocols.

The ECHL is working with the Nailers and Stingrays on rescheduling the games to a later date.

Nailers365 Season Members will have their tickets for these games moved to the new games. Fans who purchased their tickets individually are able to have their tickets refunded or credited from the point of purchase (Etix or Nailers office). Credits may be used to purchase tickets for any remaining 2020-21 regular season home game, subject to availability.

The Nailers are next in action on Saturday, January 30th, when they play host to the Indy Fuel at 7:10. A limited number of tickets are available for that game, and season memberships and flex packs are also available. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL.

Nailers Announce Part Three of 2020-21 Schedule
Fort Wayne, Jacksonville, Utah, and Wichita Join Indy on the Home Docket

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced part three of their 2020-21 season. This portion of the schedule contains games 19 through 42, which will be played between February 12th and April 3rd.

Part three of the schedule begins with a three-game homestand, and the Nailers get to be the first team to welcome the Fort Wayne Komets into their new season. Fort Wayne visits Wheeling on February 12th and 13th, before making way for the Indy Fuel to come to town for a "No Love Lost" Valentine's Day matinee.

The Nailers and Komets will get to know each other quite well during this stretch of games, as they will play ten times, including nine of the first 14. February 19-21 will be a three-game series at Allen County War Memorial Coliseum and the two rivals will also play in Fort Wayne on March 5th, 6th, and April 3rd. The Komets come to Wheeling again for a two-game set on March 12th and 13th.

Aside from one more home clash (February 24th) and two more trips to Indiana Farmers Coliseum (March 14th & April 2nd), the Nailers will get to take a bit of a breather from the Fuel, as some different opponents make their way onto the schedule.

On February 26th, 27th, and 28th, the Utah Grizzlies will make their way to WesBanco Arena for the third consecutive season. Then, on March 19th, 20th, and 21st, Wheeling will face the Wichita Thunder for the first time ever, with all three matches taking place in Downtown Wheeling. Another first time visitor is the Jacksonville Icemen, and we aren't fooling you about that April 1st contest. Additionally, the Nailers will do battle with the Florida Everblades for the first time since the 2016 Kelly Cup Playoffs, as the teams will play a three-game set in the Sunshine State on March 24th, 26th, and 27th.

In addition to the schedule, the ECHL has also announced its conference format for the current season. The Nailers are playing in the Eastern Conference, along with the Florida Everblades, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Indy Fuel, Jacksonville Icemen, Orlando Solar Bears, South Carolina Stingrays. The format for the Kelly Cup Playoffs will be announced at a later date.

A limited number of tickets are available for Nailers home games this season, in addition to season memberships and flex packs. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.

2020-21 Schedule Part 3
Fri. Feb. 12 vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10
Sat. Feb. 13 vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10
Sun. Feb. 14 vs. Indy, 4:10
Fri. Feb. 19 at Fort Wayne, 8:05
Sat. Feb. 20 at Fort Wayne, 7:35
Sun. Feb. 21 at Fort Wayne, 5:05
Wed. Feb. 24 vs. Indy, 7:10
Fri. Feb. 26 vs. Utah, 7:10
Sat. Feb. 27 vs. Utah, 7:10
Sun. Feb. 28 vs. Utah, 4:10
Fri. Mar. 5 at Fort Wayne, 8:05
Fri. Mar. 6 at Fort Wayne, 7:35
Fri. Mar. 12 vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10
Sat. Mar. 13 vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10
Sun. Mar. 14 at Indy, 3:05
Fri. Mar. 19 vs. Wichita, 7:10
Sat. Mar. 20 vs. Wichita, 7:10
Sun. Mar. 21 vs. Wichita, 4:10
Wed. Mar. 24 at Florida, 7:30
Fri. Mar. 26 at Florida, 7:30
Sat. Mar. 27 at Florida, 7:00
Thu. Apr. 1 vs. Jacksonville, 7:10
Fri. Apr. 2 at Indy, 7:05
Sat. Apr. 3 at Fort Wayne, 7:35

Nailers and Fuel Games Postponed This Weekend

WHEELING, WV- The ECHL has announced that the Wheeling Nailers at Indy Fuel games, scheduled for Friday, January 15th and Saturday, January 16th have been postponed, per league safety protocols.

The ECHL is working with the Nailers and Fuel on rescheduling the games to a later date.

Next weekend's home games against the South Carolina Stingrays on January 22nd, 23rd, and 24th are still currently on as scheduled, with Friday and Saturday starting at 7:10 and Sunday beginning at 4:10. A limited number of tickets are available for those games, and season memberships and flex packs are also available. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.

Nailers Announce Second Set of Games in 2020-21
Wheeling Faces Indy, South Carolina, and Tulsa, With Six of Ten Contests at Home

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their second set of games for the 2020-21 season. Wheeling will play six of ten games at home against three different opponents.

The second set of games begins on Friday, January 15th and Saturday, January 16th, when the Nailers continue their spirited season series with the Indy Fuel. Both of those games will be played at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, and both will begin at 7:05.

Wheeling will then play an entire weekend at home, when they welcome the South Carolina Stingrays to town on Friday, January 22nd, Saturday, January 23rd, and Sunday, January 24th. Friday and Saturday will feature 7:10 face-offs, while Sunday's tilt will start at 4:10.

Indy is back on the schedule for games 16 and 17. The rivals will clash at WesBanco Arena on Saturday, January 30th at 7:10, before traveling to Indianapolis for the rematch on Sunday, January 31st at 3:05.

For the second season in a row, the Tulsa Oilers visit Nail City, as they will play a two-game series in Wheeling on Thursday, February 4th and Friday, February 5th, with both games beginning at 7:10.

Finally, the second set of games concludes with the 20th game of the regular season and tenth against the Fuel, as the Nailers play on the road on Wednesday, February 10th at 7:05.

Season memberships are available for the 2020-21 season. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.

Games 11-20
Fri. Jan. 15 at Indy, 7:05
Sat. Jan. 16 at Indy, 7:05
Fri. Jan. 22 vs. South Carolina, 7:10
Sat. Jan. 23 vs. South Carolina, 7:10
Sun. Jan. 24 vs. South Carolina, 4:10
Sat. Jan. 30 vs. Indy, 7:10
Sun. Jan. 31 at Indy, 3:05
Thu. Feb. 4 vs. Tulsa, 7:10
Fri. Feb. 5 vs. Tulsa, 7:10
Wed. Feb. 10 at Indy, 7:05

Team Black Edges Team White in Intrasquad Scrimmage
Sean Josling & Felix Robert Both Contribute Multiple Points in Team Black's Win

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers took to the ice for an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday night at WesBanco Arena, and showed early signs of an exciting squad for the 2020-21 season. Team Black prevailed, 3-2 over Team White, as forwards Sean Josling and Felix Robert each posted multi-point performances.

The first period took some time for the teams to feel each other out, but once the frame reached the midway point, the play opened up significantly. Team White nearly opened the scoring, when Alex Tonge set up Michael Joly, but Joly's shot rang off the left post. That sent Team Black the other way, and Sean Josling cashed in with a one-timer from the bottom of the left circle. Team White was able to pull even a little more than three minutes later, when Nick Rivera converted on a one-timer from just below the right face-off dot.

Team Black only received one power play in the game, but at the 6:43 mark of period two, they made it pay off in a matter of 13 seconds. Kevin Dufour finished off a three-way passing play with Josling and Felix Robert in the bottom of the left circle. Robert notched a goal of his own later in the stanza, as he crashed into the slot, and was able to slide a shot through Shane Starrett's legs. Defenseman Dylan MacPherson pulled Team White within a goal with 4:22 remaining with his wrist shot from the left hash mark, but Team Black was able to close out the 3-2 win.

Max Milosek and Hayden Hawkey split the goaltending duties for Team Black. Each netminder came away with 11 saves on 12 shots. Shane Starrett played the entire tilt for Team White and stopped 16 of the 19 shots he faced.

Nailers Announce Plan for Fans at First Three Home Games
All Home Games Will be Broadcast Live on TV, While All Games Will be Broadcast on Radio & Online

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their plan for fans at upcoming home games, following guidelines set forth by the Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department, the City of Wheeling, and the State of West Virginia.

For the first three home games of the 2020-21 regular season (December 12th, December 18th, December 19th), season members will be the only fans allowed admittance into WesBanco Arena. Fans must wear masks at all times within the facility, sit only in their ticketed seats, and practice social distancing in high traffic locations.

"It is important for people to enjoy activities that bring normalcy into their lives, and the Nailers are an important part of our community," said Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard Gamble. "The Nailers and WesBanco Arena have done a tremendous job of compiling a detailed plan to ensure safety at their games."

The amount of fans permitted at home games during the 2020-21 season is subject to change, depending on COVID-19 levels.

"We are committed to adjusting and continuing to make WesBanco Arena a very safe environment to visit," said Nailers Director of Ticket Sales Mark Goodwin. "The arena will be fan-friendly for all passionate and dedicated fans to cheer on their favorite hockey team in Wheeling."

WesBanco Arena has worked to create a safe environment for the fans. They have installed hand sanitizing dispensers, plexiglass at all concession stands, and distance markers on the floor.

"We've truly missed our fans over these past few months and are excited to welcome them back into the arena," said WesBanco Arena Executive Director Denny Magruder. We have taken every possible precaution to ensure everyone's safety, as we are utilizing the latest and greatest disinfectant equipment, and we have brought in extra staff members to keep the arena clean."

To view a road map detailing rules, regulations, and procedures for attending Wheeling Nailers home games, click here.

With the limited amount of fans permitted to attend home games during the 2020-21 season, the Nailers are excited to announce that all home games will be broadcast live and in high-definition on WTOV9's MeTV.

iHeartRadio's Mix 97.3 returns as the radio home for the team, and that station will carry all regular season and playoff games. In addition to the station itself, fans can also enjoy games online at Mix973Wheeling.com and on the iHeartRadio app.

FloSports has also joined the broadcast family this season, and it will be streaming every game throughout the ECHL. Games will be available both live and on-demand for its subscribers, in addition to original content, interviews, and analysis.

Additionally, the Wheeling Nailers Power Hour will once again be on the air from 6-7 on Tuesday nights. The show will feature two players each week, with the audio being broadcast on FoxSports Wheeling (AM 1400) and the video being broadcast at the 19th Hole.

DJ Abisalih returns for his tenth season as the Voice of the Nailers, and will be calling the action for every game. Isaac Basinger will be joining DJ for the home games as the color commentator.

Season memberships are available for the 2020-21 season. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.

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