|2019–20 ECHL season|
|City||Wheeling, West Virginia|
|Founded||1981 (in the ACHL)|
|Home arena||WesBanco Arena|
|Colors||Black, Vegas gold, white|
|Owner(s)||Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley|
|Head coach||Mark French|
|Media||Wheeling News Register|
WKWK Mix 97.3 FM
WTRF-TV channel 7
WTOV-TV channel 9
|Affiliates||Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)|
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL)
|Regular season titles||2 (1992–93, 1994–95)|
|Division Championships||3 (1992–93, 1994–95, 2003–04)|
|Conference Championships||2 (1992–93, 2015–16)|
The Nailers are the oldest surviving minor league franchise below the level of the American Hockey League, with unbroken continuity of franchise and never having missed a season of play.
The Nailers began play in 1981 in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League as the Carolina Thunderbirds based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Thunderbirds won four consecutive regular season titles and were three-time Bob Payne Trophy winners as league champions. In 1987, the ACHL folded and the team joined the All-American Hockey League for the 1987–88 season. The Thunderbirds, Virginia Lancers, and Johnstown Chiefs then became the basis for the East Coast Hockey League, now known as the ECHL. The Thunderbirds lost the first ECHL playoff championship final to the Toledo Storm. The team was renamed Winston-Salem Thunderbirds in 1990 and moved to Wheeling to become the Wheeling Thunderbirds in 1992 under the leadership of president and co-owner Ed Broyhill.
After a trademark dispute with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League, the team was renamed 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. For the 2012–13 season, the Nailers dropped the red-black-gold scheme they had used for nearly two decades in favor of a black-and-gold palette used by the Penguins.
The team plays at the WesBanco Arena (formerly the Wheeling Civic Center), and used the Cambria County War Memorial Arena in Johnstown, Pennsylvania as an alternative venue during the 2010–2011 and 2011-2012 seasons. 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.
In August 2011, the Nailers moved to the Eastern Conference's Atlantic Division as part of the league realignment for the 2011–12 season. The Chicago Express took the North Division spot vacated by the Nailers. In June 2014 the Nailers returned to the North Division after the ECHL eliminated the Atlantic Division in its realignment for the 2014–15 season.
On March 29, 2012, the ECHL announced that ownership of the Nailers would be transferred from the Brooks-owned Nailers Hockey LLC to the Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley, a joint venture of the Ohio Valley Industrial & Business Development Corporation, and the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association, to take effect at the conclusion of the 2011–2012 season.
|Season||GP||W||L||T||OTL||SOL||Pts||GF||GA||Standing||Year||Prelim||1st round||2nd round||3rd round||Kelly Cup|
|1992–93||64||40||16||—||8||—||88||314||223||1st, East||1993||—||BYE||W, 3–1, JHN||W, 4–2, RAL||L, 2–4, TOL|
|1993–94||68||38||23||—||7||—||83||327||289||3rd, North||1994||—||W, 2–0, NSH||W, 3–1, HR||L, 0–3, TOL||—|
|1994–95||68||46||17||—||5||—||97||313||243||1st, North||1995||—||L, 0–3, BIR||—||—||—|
|1995–96||70||42||23||—||—||5||89||289||261||2nd, North||1996||—||W, 3–0, CLB||L, 1–3, TAL||—||—|
|1996–97||70||36||29||5||—||—||77||298||291||4th, North||1997||—||L, 0–3, PEO||—||—||—|
|1997–98||70||37||24||9||—||—||83||255||255||2nd, North||1998||—||W, 3–2, DAY||W, 3–1, TOL||L, 2–4, HR||—|
|1998–99||70||27||37||6||—||—||60||206||249||6th, Northeast||1999||Did not qualify|
|1999–2000||70||25||40||5||—||—||55||202||246||5th, Northeast||2000||Did not qualify|
|2000–01||72||24||40||8||—||—||56||192||277||5th, Northeast||2001||Did not qualify|
|2001–02||72||36||32||4||—||—||76||213||208||5th, Northeast||2002||Did not qualify|
|2002–03||72||28||41||3||—||—||59||193||261||6th, Northeast||2003||Did not qualify|
|2003–04||72||51||17||4||—||—||106||259||188||1st, North||2004||BYE||L, 2–3, REA||—||—||—|
|2004–05||72||38||29||5||—||—||81||171||173||6th, North||2005||—||Did not qualify|
|2005–06||72||45||21||6||—||—||96||247||186||2nd, East||2006||BYE||W, 3–1, REA||L, 2–3, TOL||—||—|
|2006–07||72||32||34||—||2||4||70||215||255||7th, North||2007||Did not qualify|
|2007–08||72||22||43||—||3||4||51||186||284||7th, North||2008||Did not qualify|
|2008–09||72||36||28||—||2||6||80||263||260||4th, North||2009||—||L, 3–4, CIN||—||—||—|
|2009–10||72||33||32||—||2||5||73||240||249||4th, North||2010||—||Did not qualify|
|2010–11||72||38||29||—||0||5||81||230||210||2nd, North||2011||—||W, 3–1, SC||W, 4–3, GRN||L, 2–4, KAL||—|
|2011–12||72||37||26||—||4||6||83||219||202||2nd, Atlantic||2012||—||L, 1–3, KAL||—||—||—|
|2012–13||72||31||29||—||3||9||74||193||225||3rd, Atlantic||2013||—||Did not qualify|
|2013–14||72||39||27||—||1||5||84||216||196||2nd, Atlantic||2014||—||W, 4–0, SC||L, 2–4, GRN||—||—|
|2014–15||72||37||33||—||1||1||76||210||213||4th, North||2015||—||L, 3–4, TOL||—||—||—|
|2015–16||72||37||26||—||5||4||83||214||211||2nd, North||2016||—||W, 4–2, FLA||W, 4–3, REA||W, 4–3, SC||L, 2–4, ALN|
|2016–17||72||34||30||—||8||0||76||244||239||5th, North||2017||—||Did not qualify|
|2017–18||72||35||28||—||8||1||79||248||245||5th, North||2018||—||Did not qualify|
|2018–19||72||31||31||—||6||4||72||239||240||6th, Central||2019||—||Did not qualify|
|2019–20||59||24||30||—||5||0||53||163||206||6th, Central||2020||—||Season cancelled|
Players and personnel
|–||Matt Alfaro||C||L||24||2020||Calgary, Alberta||Nailers|
|–||Cody Bradley||C||L||26||2020||Tampa, Florida||Nailers|
|11||Alec Butcher||RW||R||26||2019||Anchorage, Alaska||Nailers|
|–||Drydn Dow||D||L||28||2020||Calgary, Alberta||Nailers|
|–||Tyler Drevitch||C||L||25||2020||Middleboro, Massachusetts||Nailers|
|25||Brad Drobot||RW||R||31||2018||Calgary, Alberta||Nailers|
|–||Chad Duchesne||D||L||25||2020||Kingston, Ontario||Nailers|
|–||Kevin Dufour||LW||L||28||2020||Quebec, Quebec||Nailers|
|2||Marc-Olivier Duquette||D||L||22||2019||Chateauguay, Quebec||Nailers|
|–||Andrew Gaus||RW||R||25||2020||Wexford, Pennsylvania||Nailers|
|–||Shane Kuzmeski||D||L||24||2020||Grayslake, Illinois||Nailers|
|–||Luke Lynch||C||R||24||2020||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania||Nailers|
|–||Dylan MacPherson||D||R||22||2020||Redcliff, Alberta||Nailers|
|5||Kyle McKenzie||D||L||27||2020||Dallas, Texas||Nailers|
|–||Matt Miller||D||L||25||2020||East Palestine, Ohio||Nailers|
|–||Michael Pelech||C||L||31||2020||Toronto, Ontario||Nailers|
|14||Will Smith||LW||L||24||2019||East Longmeadow, Massachusetts||Nailers|
- Doug Sauter 1992–95
- Larry Kish 1995–96
- Tom McVie 1996–97
- Peter Laviolette 1997–98
- Chris Jensen 1998–99
- Murray Eaves 1999–2000
- Alain Lemieux 2000–01
- Joe Harney 2001 (interim)
- John Brophy 2001–03
- Pat Bingham 2003–05
- Glenn Patrick 2005–08
- Greg Puhalski 2008–10
- Stan Drulia 2010–11
- Clark Donatelli 2011–15
- David Gove 2015–16
- Jeff Christian 2016–18
- Mike Bavis 2018–2020
- Mark French 2020–present
- "A to Z Encyclopaedia of Ice Hockey". Retrieved February 22, 2010.
- "Wheeling Nailers". Chris Creamer's Sports Logos.net. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
- Mastovich, Mike (April 2, 2010). "Arena confirms: Wheeling Nailers to play some games in Johnstown next year". The Tribune-Democrat.
- Press Release (August 1, 2011). "Annual ECHL Board of Governors meeting concludes". ECHL. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
- Press Release (June 24, 2014). "Annual ECHL Board of Governors Meeting concludes". ECHL. Retrieved June 24, 2014.
- Press Release. "Ownership Transfer Approved By ECHL". Retrieved April 2, 2012.
- "Wheeling Nailers playing roster". Wheeling Nailers. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
- "Wheeling Nailers Elite Prospects". EliteProspects.com. Retrieved November 5, 2017.
- Triveri, Frankie and David. "FRANCHISE HISTORY". Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved July 13, 2009.
- "Nailers Part With Coach". The Intelligencer and Wheeling News Register. April 11, 2018.
- "Nailers Name Mike Bavis as Head Coach". Nailers. August 7, 2018.
- "Nailers Begin Search for Next Head Coach". OurSports Central. March 30, 2020.
- "Nailers hire Mark French as coach". TribLive. June 8, 2020.
- wheelingnailers.com. "NHL Alumni". Retrieved November 18, 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wheeling Nailers.|