Wheeling Nailers Announce Pre-Season Schedule

Sorry fans we have been a bit behind in posting the news, this is because we have moved and had changed our internet provider we should have everything under control now.

The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have announced their 2014 preseason schedule. Wheeling will play two games against the Cincinnati Cyclones, with one contest at WesBanco Arena, followed by a tilt at US Bank Arena the following night.

On Friday, October 10th, WesBanco Arena will open its doors to the first game of the preseason schedule, as the Nailers will play host to the Cyclones at 7:35. Then, on Saturday, October 11th, the two teams will make their way to US Bank Arena, where they will do battle again at 7:35.

In addition to being the Nailers’ closest opponent geographically, Wheeling and Cincinnati have developed a tremendous rivalry in the eleven seasons that the Cyclones have been members of the ECHL. In fact, last season, the two clubs met for their 100th regular season encounter all-time, marking the sixth time in team history that Wheeling has reached that milestone against a single opponent. The Nailers hold a slim 54-53 lead in the historical series, although the Cyclones have a 4-3 edge in playoff meetings. After a thrilling 12-game season series which featured six wins per team last year, Wheeling and Cincinnati will meet only four times during the 2014-15 regular season, with two games taking place at each facility.

The Nailers and Cyclones last met in the preseason during October, 2012, when the two sides exchanged home victories.

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Penguins Sign Defensemen Boak and Seymour

It was released earlier today the WBS Penguins have signed defensemen Alex Boak and Clark Seymour to one-year American Hockey League contracts.

Boak signed an amateur try-out agreement with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last year on March 22, following four seasons with Clarkson University. The 24-year old from Norwood, New York totaled seven goals, 24 assists and 357 penalty minutes over 148 games with the Golden Knights. Boak went on to make his pro debut with the Penguins’ ECHL affiliate, the Wheeling Nailers, where he skated in eight games and recorded 24 penalty minutes.

Seymour, 21, set career highs offensively in 2013-14 for the Peterborough Petes (OHL), registering seven goals, 13 assists, 20 points and 85 penalty minutes over 61 games. He also led team defensemen with five points
(2G-3A) in 11 games during the playoffs.

A native of Brockville, Ontario, Seymour was originally a fifth-round pick (143rd overall) of the Penguins in 2012. Seymour played five seasons in the Ontario Hockey League between Peterborough and the Kingston Frontenacs, collecting 57 points (14G-43A) and 272 PIM over 288 contests.

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The American Hockey League’s Board of Governors has concluded its 2014 Annual Meeting, held this week at Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Chaired by AHL President and CEO David Andrews, the four days of meetings, which concluded Thursday, saw the approval of the following rules changes to be implemented beginning in 2014-15:

Rule 85 (“Overtime”)

During the regular season, the sudden-death overtime period will be seven minutes (7:00) in length, preceded by a “dry scrape” of the entire ice surface.

Teams will change ends at the start of overtime.

Full playing strength will be 4-on-4 until the first whistle following three minutes of play (4:00 remaining), at which time full strength will be reduced to 3-on-3 for the duration of the overtime period.

If the game is still tied following overtime, a winner will be determined by a three-player shootout.

Rule 20.4 (“Major Penalties”)

An automatic game misconduct will be applied to any player who has been assessed two major penalties for fighting or three major penalties for any infraction in the same game.

Rule 9.6 (“Helmets”)

A player on the ice whose helmet comes off during play will be assessed a minor penalty unless he immediately (a) exits the playing surface or (b) puts the helmet back on with the chin strap properly fastened.

“With the full support of the league’s Competition Committee and Player Development Committee, the Board has approved these changes with the betterment of our game and the safety of our players in mind,” said Andrews.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 13th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2013-14

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The AHL Board Of Governors Approve Division Alignments for 2014-15

American Hockey League President and CEO David Andrews announced today that the league’s Board of Governors has approved the following division alignment for the 2014-15 AHL season (National Hockey League affiliates in parentheses):

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
Manchester Monarchs (Los Angeles)
Portland Pirates (Arizona)
Providence Bruins (Boston)
St. John’s IceCaps (Winnipeg)
Worcester Sharks (San Jose)

Northeast Division
Albany Devils (New Jersey)
Bridgeport Sound Tigers (N.Y. Islanders)
Hartford Wolf Pack (N.Y. Rangers)
Springfield Falcons (Columbus)
Syracuse Crunch (Tampa Bay)

East Division
Binghamton Senators (Ottawa)
Hershey Bears (Washington)
Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia)
Norfolk Admirals (Anaheim)
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh)

Western Conference
North Division
Adirondack Flames (Calgary)
Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal)
Rochester Americans (Buffalo)
Toronto Marlies (Toronto)
Utica Comets (Vancouver)

Midwest Division
Chicago Wolves (St. Louis)
Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit)
Lake Erie Monsters (Colorado)
Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville)
Rockford IceHogs (Chicago)

West Division
Charlotte Checkers (Carolina)
Iowa Wild (Minnesota)
Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton)
San Antonio Rampage (Florida)
Texas Stars (Dallas)

Changes from last season include:
• Calgary’s affiliate relocating from Abbotsford, B.C., to Glens Falls, N.Y., and playing in the North Division
• Philadelphia’s affiliate relocating from Glens Falls, N.Y. to Allentown, Pa., and playing in the East Division
• Syracuse moving from the East Division to the Northeast Division
• Lake Erie moving from the North Division to the Midwest Division
• Iowa moving from the Midwest Division to the West Division

The format for the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs has also been approved by the Board of Governors and remains the same as 2014: Eight teams in each conference will qualify for the postseason, with the three division winners earning the top three seeds and the next five best teams in order of regular-season points seeded fourth through eighth. The conference quarterfinals will be best-of-five series; the conference semifinals, conference finals and Calder Cup Finals will be best-of-seven series. Teams will be re-ordered after the first round so that the highest-remaining seed plays the lowest-remaining seed.

The playing schedule for the 2014-15 regular season, which begins Oct. 10, will be announced later this summer.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 13th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2013-14.

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Nailers Re-Sign Jake Areshanko

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.

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Wheeling has Re-Signed Forward Tyler Fernandez

The Wheeling Nailers announced yesterday their third player signing of the 2014 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed forward Tyler Fernandez to an ECHL contract.

Fernandez, 25, had a breakthrough season in 2013-14, as he appeared in a career-high 54 games with the Nailers, after previously playing in just 16 ECHL games over the course of three professional seasons. Tyler’s offensive numbers reflected that opportunity, as he finished tied for fifth on the team with 13 goals, while adding 12 assists for 25 total points. The Bloomfield, CT native wasted little time in making his presence felt, as he netted his first ECHL goal in his second game with Wheeling – the game-winner in a 3-1 triumph at Elmira on November 29th. During February and March, Fernandez experienced two of his better stretches of the campaign, as he notched two point streaks of at least five games, in addition to a run which saw him light the lamp in six of seven tilts.

“Tyler Fernandez is a player who joined our team last season in late November, and played extremely well, making an immediate impact,” said Nailers Head Coach Clark Donatelli. “He is someone who can play all three forward positions, and he makes himself difficult to play against, which allows us to utilize him on our special teams,” he said. “Tyler scored some big goals for us last season, and I am looking forward to seeing him make even bigger strides this year.”

Prior to joining the Nailers, Tyler had spent the majority of his pro career in the SPHL, split between four teams. While his 11 points in 12 games with Peoria to start 2013-14 were certainly notable, it was the 2012-13 season that remains the forward’s best, as he registered 21 goals and 50 points in 42 games with Knoxville. In addition, Fernandez attended Brown University for three seasons, while playing his junior hockey with the EJHL’s New England Jr. Coyotes/Falcons.

“I am very happy to be back in Wheeling with a team that I established myself with last season,” Fernandez said. “Last year was great for me to get my first ECHL season under my belt, and I am grateful that Clark Donatelli not only liked me enough to bring me in last season, but that he also wants me back again this season,” he said. “We had a really good team, and regardless of my spot, I felt like I was always playing with great players.”

Tyler Fernandez and the Wheeling Nailers will open the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, October 18th at 7:35, when they take the ice against the Reading Royals.

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Nailers Announce 2014 Qualifying Offers

The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, have announced their list of players who received qualifying offers for the summer of 2014. Seven players were tended qualifying offers for Wheeling.

Each team is entitled to reserve the rights to a maximum of eight qualified players. Of the eight qualified players, no more than four can be veterans (260 regular season professional hockey games played as of the start of the upcoming 2014-15 season). Players on open qualifying offers cannot be traded.

The qualifying offer must remain open for acceptance until August 1st, at which time the qualifying offer becomes null and void, and the team may sign the qualified player to any salary, or may elect to take no further action. Teams that extend a valid qualifying offer to a non-veteran player shall retain the rights to that qualified player for one playing season.

A team that extends a valid qualifying offer to a veteran player will retain the rights to that veteran until August 1st. After August 1st, if the veteran player is not signed to a contract by the team, the veteran shall be deemed a restricted free agent and shall be entitled to seek and secure offers of employment from other ECHL teams. Restricted free agents may not be traded. When a restricted free agent receives a contract offer from a team other than the team with the player’s rights and the restricted free agent wishes to accept the contract offer, the restricted free agent and the offering member must, within 24 hours, notify the ECHL, the team with the player’s rights and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association. The member with the player’s rights shall have seven days after the date it is notified to exercise its right to match the contract offer.

If a restricted free agent is not signed to either an offer sheet or a contract by an ECHL team by August 31st, the player shall be deemed an unrestricted free agent.

The seven qualified players for the Wheeling Nailers are:
D Jake Areshenko
F Shane Bakker
D Paul Cianfrini
D Barry Goers
D Myles Harvey
F Max MacKay
F Zack Torquato

The Wheeling Nailers will open the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday, October 18th at 7:35, when they play host to the Reading Royals at WesBanco Arena.

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