The Wheeling Nailers, proud members of the ECHL, are excited to announce that they have been recognized by USA Today for having the best team name in minor league hockey.
“We wanted to look at the best team names in the lower leagues and celebrate them,” said Nate Scott, author of the story.
Concerning the Nailers name, Scott writes, “Perhaps best known from the Coyotes’ Paul Bissonnette’s Twitter profile, the Wheeling Nailers…used to be called the Wheeling Thunderbirds, but a name dispute with another team led them to hold a contest where fans submitted names to the team. Due to the town’s history as nail manufacturers, and perhaps showing that the club has a pretty good sense of humor about things, they landed on the Nailers, and they’ve been the Nailers ever since 1996.”
“We are excited to be recognized for our unique name,” said Nailers Coach Clark Donatelli. “Aside from being the home of the stars of the future, things associated with minor league hockey are promotions, entertainment and team names. We’ll take this as a sign of great things to come for the team this season.”
Scott also writes the Nailers, “can take pride knowing they have the best team name for any minor league hockey team out there. Go on you Nailers!”
The Nailers logo has also been recognized previously as one of the best minor league sports logos.
The Wheeling Nailers are an original ECHL franchise and hold several league records including most wins, most home wins and most road wins as well as three Brabham Cup titles. In addition, the Nailers have the most former players in the NHL – 43.
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, 10 former Nailers have made their NHL debuts with the Penguins, with goaltender Brad Thiessen being the most recent. In addition, a total of 12 former Nailers/Thunderbirds have suited up with Pittsburgh, including goaltender Tomas Vokoun, who led the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Final this past spring.
The team also enters its fourth consecutive season as the ECHL affiliate for both Montreal and Hamilton, as well as its ninth season overall with the Canadiens. Over the course of those years, seven former Nailers/Thunderbirds have made their NHL debuts with the Canadiens. In addition, a total of eight former Nailers/Thunderbirds have suited up with Montreal, including defenseman Francis Bouillon, who appeared in all 53 regular season and playoff games for the Canadiens in 2012-13.