Wheeling Nailers
City: Wheeling, West Virginia
League: ECHL
Conference: American Conference
Division: North Division
Founded: 1988
Home Arena: WesBanco Arena
Colors: Black, red, Vegas gold, white
Owner(s): Jim and Rob Brooks
Head Coach: Jeff Christian
Media: Wheeling News-Register
Affiliates: Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)

1992-93 Wheeling Thunderbirds program

The Wheeling Nailers are an ECHL ice hockey team based in Wheeling, West Virginia.

The Wheeling Nailers are the ECHL Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was previously the Cornwall Aces before they became Pittsburgh's affiliate in 1996.

Franchise historyEdit

One of the oldest low-minor league hockey teams, the franchise began play in 1982 in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League as the Carolina Thunderbirds based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The team, along with the Virginia Lancers, joined the All-American Hockey League in 1987, which lasted just the 1987–88 season, after which the Thunderbirds, Lancers, and Johnstown Chiefs formed the basis for the modern ECHL, of which the Thunderbirds won the first ECHL playoff championship, then known as the Jack Riley Cup, defeating the Johnstown Chiefs, 4-3 for the 1988–89 season. They became the Winston-Salem Thunderbirds in 1990 and moved to Wheeling in 1992 under the leadership of President and co-owner Ed Broyhill.

After a trademark dispute with the junior league Seattle Thunderbirds, the club became the Nailers for the 1996–97 season when the franchise held a contest open to local fans, which was won by C. J. Wickham of Steubenville, Ohio. The name "Nailers" was chosen for the city's long history of nail manufacturing. The team colors are black, red, and Vegas gold.

The team plays at the WesBanco Arena (formerly the Wheeling Civic Center). After missing the playoffs for five straight seasons, they had a 106-point season in 2003–04. They were defeated by the Reading Royals in 5 games, 3-2. In season 2005–06 they had a great season making it to the second round of the playoffs losing to Toledo in the final second of the final game.

The Nailers were the inaugural ECHL champion in the playoffs, yet hold the record with three Brabham Cup titles.

Main rivalEdit

The Nailers main rival inside the ECHL is the Johnstown Chiefs, and both teams have been rivals for 21 seasons, counting the ACHL year before they became the ECHL. At the beginning of the 2007–08 season, opening night featured the two teams wearing 1988–89 era jerseys to celebrate the 20th ECHL season.

Season-by-season resultsEdit

Regular Season Playoffs
Season GP W L T OTL SOL Pts GF GA Standing Year Prelim 1st round 2nd round 3rd round Kelly Cup
Wheeling Thunderbirds
1992–93 6440168883142231st, East 1993 BYEW, 3–1, JHN W, 4–2, RAL L, 2–4, TOL
1993–94 6838237833272893rd, North 1994 W, 2–0, NSH W, 3–1, HR L, 0–3, TOL
1994–95 6846175973132431st, North 1995 L, 0–3, BIR
1995–96 7042235892892612nd, North 1996 W, 3–0, CLB L, 1–3, TAL
Wheeling Nailers
1996–97 7036295772982914th, North 1997 L, 0–3, PEO
1997–98 7037249832552552nd, North 1998 W, 3–2, DAY W, 3–1, TOL L, 2–4, HR
1998–99 7027376602062496th, Northeast 1999 Out of playoffs
1999–2000 7025405552022465th, Northeast 2000 Out of playoffs
2000–01 7224408561922775th, Northeast 2001 Out of playoffs
2001–02 7236324762132085th, Northeast 2002 Out of playoffs
2002–03 7228413591932616th, Northeast 2003 Out of playoffs
2003–04 72511741062591881st, North 2004 BYEL, 2–3, REA
2004–05 7238295811711736th, North 2005 Out of playoffs
2005–06 7245216962471862nd, East 2006 BYEW, 3–1, REA L, 2–3, TOL
2006–07 7232346702152557th, North 2007 Out of playoffs
2007–08 72224334511862847th, North 2008 Out of playoffs
2008–09 72362826802632604th, North 2009 L, 3–4, CIN
2009–10 72333525732402494th, North 2010 Out of playoffs
2010–11 72382905812302102nd, North 2011 W, 3–1, SC W, 4–3, GRN L, 2–4, KAL
2011–12 72372646832192022nd, Atlantic 2012 L, 1–3, KAL
2012–13 72312939741932253rd, Atlantic 2013 Out of playoffs
2013–14 72392715842161962nd, Atlantic 2014 W, 4–0, SC L, 2–4, GRN
2014–15 72373311762102134th, North 2015 L, 3–4, TOL
2015–16 72372654832142112nd, North 2016 W, 4–2, FLA W, 4–3, REA W, 4–3, SCL, 2–4, ALN
2016-17 72343080762442395th, North 2017 Out of playoffs
2017-18 72352881792482455th, North 2018 Out of playoffs
2018-19 72313164722392406th, North 2018 Out of playoffs

Notable Nailers AlumniEdit

Head CoachesEdit


External linksEdit

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