WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud members of the ECHL, are excited to announce that they have renewed their affiliation agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League for the 2013-14 season.
Wheeling enters its 14th consecutive season as the ECHL affiliate for both Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, as well as its 15th season overall with the NHL Penguins. Over the course of those years, ten former Nailers have made their NHL debuts with the Penguins, with goaltender Brad Thiessen being the most recent. In addition, a total of twelve former Nailers/Thunderbirds have suited up with Pittsburgh, including goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who led the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Final this past spring.
"We are excited to continue our relationship with the Penguins and their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins," said Nailers Governor Don Rigby. "We look forward to continuing to develop their young talent here in Wheeling."
Pittsburgh, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and Wheeling have a strong history of advancing players in their organization, and 2012-13 is a perfect example of that. Last season alone saw twelve different players dress in at least one game for both the Nailers and the AHL Penguins, including forward Bobby Farnham, who led all 2012-13 Nailers with 65 games played for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The NHL/AHL pipeline was also in full effect last season, as seven players suited up for both Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, led by rookie Beau Bennett, who tallied 28 points in the AHL, before adding 14 more in the NHL.
"We are pleased to announce our continued partnership with the Wheeling Nailers," said Penguins Assistant General Manager Jason Botterill. "The Nailers have been a great asset for player development over the years, and we are looking forward to maintaining a successful affiliation."
The 2013-14 crop of future Penguins will begin their season with the Nailers on Friday, October 18th at 7:00, when they play host to the Elmira Jackals at WesBanco Arena. For ticket information, call the Nailers office at 304-234-GOAL (4625), or visit the website, www.wheelingnailers.com.