The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have gotten off to another successful season on the ice, going 6-5-0 in their first 11 games, including a 4-1-0 mark on home ice. In addition, the support from the local fanbase has produced numbers that haven’t been seen in over a decade.
During the first five home games, WesBanco Arena has seen over 4,000 tickets sold on two occasions, as Wednesday’s morning game produced a crowd of 4,855, while Opening Night delivered a victory to 4,754 fans. Both of those numbers eclipsed the previous high under the ownership of The Hockey Club of the Ohio Valley, LLC, which was 3,782, set on October 18, 2013. Prior to this season, Wheeling had only surpassed 4,000 fans in a single game once in the previous three campaigns, doing so at the final regular season home game of 2011-12.
The total attendance of 16,249 through five games marks a start to the season that has gone unseen in 12 years. Prior to 2014-15, the last time the Nailers had a five-game start with a higher number was 2002-03, when 19,110 fans flew through the gates to open that slate of home games. In fact, during the 11 years in between, only the 2006-07 season (3,122) produced an average of over 3,000 fans during the first five home contests.
“We have been extremely thrilled to see the incredible support from our terrific fanbase during the first five home games,” said Nailers Vice President Craig Bommer. “Our staff has put in lots of hours to help us reach these heights, and we will be looking for even more success going forward,” he said.
The Nailers will play their next five home games over the next few weeks, with all five of the contests taking place between November 26th-December 6th. November 29th (Jersey Bank Giveaway) and December 6th (Patrick McGrath Bobblefist) are both “Big Six” Promotional Games, while November 28th and Demember 5th are both Flat Screen Fridays. In addition, fans can purchase McDonald’s Friends & Family Packages for the November 29th game, which include four tickets, four hats, and four value meal coupons for $39.99.