The Wheeling Nailers announce their fourth player signing of the 2014 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed defenseman Jake Areshenko to an ECHL contract.
Areshenko, 25, is coming off of his first full season of professional hockey, after registering ten assists in 56 regular season games with the Nailers. Jake had previously appeared in three regular season tilts and three postseason contests with the South Carolina Stingrays in 2012-13, before attending training camp with the Orlando Solar Bears last October. A few days prior to the start of the 2013-14 campaign, Wheeling acquired the six-foot blueliner, looking to add stability to its defensive play. While Areshenko’s success was more focused in his own zone, he did earn his first professional point with an assist on Opening Night, before tallying his first career playoff point with a helper on Tom Kuhnhackl’s overtime goal in game two against South Carolina.
“Jake Areshenko was a great addition for our team last season, and I am looking forward to seeing him make the jump in his game this year,” said Nailers Head Coach Clark Donatelli. “Jake is tough to play against, and because of that, he did a really good job of playing against and shutting down top-six forwards from opposing teams,” he said.
Prior to turning pro, the Port Coquitlam, BC native attended Bemidji State University, where he appeared in at least 30 games during each of his four seasons. During his time with the Beavers, Jake compiled four goals, 20 assists, and 24 points in 144 games. Between his freshman and sophomore years, Bemidji State University changed conferences, leaving the smaller CHA for the larger and more successful WCHA. Areshenko also played four seasons of junior hockey – three in the BCHL with Burnaby and Powell, as well as one in the USHL with Fargo. The 2005-06 Burnaby Express squad also featured 2013-14 Nailer Peter Merth and 2012-13 Nailer Paul Crowder, as the team went on to win the Royal Bank Cup.
“I had a great experience in Wheeling last season, and I think that if we as a team can feed off of what we did last year, we can go even deeper this time around,” Areshenko said. “I learned a lot about the pro game last year, especially from the coaching staff. Clark Donatelli knows who I am, and I know what he is all about, so that makes the player/coach relationship that much stronger in the second year,” he said. “From the looks of it, we have a good nucleus coming back, after having the experience of making the playoffs last year and winning in the first round, which made it that much sweeter for us, the fans, and the city.”
Jake Areshenko and the Wheeling Nailers will open the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, October 18th at 7:35, when they host their North Division rival, the Reading Royals.