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League: East Coast Hockey League
Founded: 1996 (originally called the Thunderbirds)
Affiliations: Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL), Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
Head Coach: Mike Bavis
Location of home games: Wesbanco Arena
Wheeling Nailers TicketsIn March of 1992 came the first public announcement that the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds would be relocating to Wheeling for the 1992-93 season. On October 18 of that year, the Wheeling Thunderbirds had its first regular-season game against the Dayton Bombers. It was a 9-3 win for the team. In just a couple of months, by December, the team was celebrating its 100th goal as a team. In January of that first season, the Thunderbirds had its first shutout in a game against the Louisville Icehawks. By 1995, the team had already scored its 1,000th goal and around that same time changed its name from the Thunderbirds to the Nailers. Fans have been a big part of the team's success, and by 1999, the Nailers already celebrated its millionth attendee of a Nailers game. By 2009, 2 million fans had seen the team take to the ice. You can be part of the next million by getting your Wheeling Nailers tickets right here at StubHub.
Who are the main rivals of the Wheeling Nailers?Some of the most significant rivals on the Wheeling Nailers schedule have been the Johnstown Chiefs, the Toledo Walleye, the Elmira Jackals and the Cincinnati Cyclones. Out of all the teams in the league, however, the most heated rivalry is against the Reading Royals.
Who makes up the coaching staff for the Wheeling Nailers?Mike Bavis is the head coach for the Wheeling Nailers games while Gene Reilly acts as an assistant coach for the team. The support staff for the team is made up of Bill Higgins, who acts as equipment manager for the team; athletic trainer Dan Barker; and strength/conditioning coach Mark Gaydos.
Who are some Wheeling Nailers players who have gone on to play in the NHL?The Wheeling Nailers have had a large number of players go on to play for the National Hockey League. In just the 2000s, those players were forwards Josh Archibald, Patrick Bordeleau, Luca Caputi, Daniel Carcillo, Jean-Sebastien Dea, Brandon DeFazio, Bobby Farnham, Jason Jaffray, Joe Jensen, Nick Johnson, Zenon Konopka, David Laliberte, Mark Letestu, Kurtis McLean, Michel Ouellet, Cam Paddock, Adam Payerl, Carter Rowney, Zach Sill, Ben Street, Paul Thompson, Dominik Uher, Darcy Verot and Tim Wallace. Also drafted to the NHL in the 2000s were defensemen Paul Bissonnette, Francis Bouillon, Morgan Ellis, Drew Fata, Scott Ferguson, Alex Grant, David Koci, Darcy Martini, Philip Samuelsson, Terry Virtue and Mark Visheau. Goaltenders for the Nailers that made it to the NHL in the 2000s are David Aebischer, Andy Chiodo, Mike Condon, John Curry, Scott Darling, Casey DeSmith, Mike Minard, Dany Sabourin, Daniel Taylor and Brad Thiessen.
What is the Wheeling Nailers Boosters Club?The Wheeling Nailers Boosters Club is a nonprofit organization made up of volunteers, fans and other supporters of the Nailers. The club acts as an organization through which the Nailers can interact more with the community at large as well as forward the goals of the team. Meetings are held at a pizza spot next to the arena.
What are some awards that members of the Wheeling Nailers and its staff have received from the ECHL?Most Valuable Player went to Vadim Slivchenko for the 1994-1995 season. Rookie of the Year went to Keli Corpse (1995-1996), Bryan Ewing (2008-2009) and Ben Street (2010-2011). Defenseman of the Year has gone to Ray DiLauro (2004-2005) and Mathew Maione (2015-2016). Coach of the Year went to Pat Bingham for the 2003-2004 season.
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