WHEELING, WV– The 26th season of professional hockey in Wheeling will begin October 13, 2017, at the Ben Secours Arena in Greenville, SC. After playing the second game against the Swamp Rabbits to finish the first weekend, fans will get to see the 2017-18 edition of the Nailers on Saturday, October 21, 2017. The home schedule begins against the Cincinnati Cyclones. Two games in Brampton, ON close out the first month of the season. Only one home game in October for the fans in the Friendly City.
November sees the team playing 12 games, only five of which inside Wesbanco Arena. The month starts with another visit from the Cyclones on November 3rd. After a trip to Indy on the 4th for a date with the Fuel, the Nailers will face their first three games in three nights the following weekend. A home-and-home with Toledo begins in Wheeling on the 10th and 11th. The Nailers will return home to face the Norfolk Admirals. The Nailers then must get up early on the 14th, as the Adirondack Thunder visit for the first time in 2017-18 for the first of two School Day games on the Nailers schedule. After a trip to visit the Norfolk Scope Arena for a pair of games on the 17th and 18th, Wheeling returns home for a Thanksgiving Eve date with the Worcester Railers for the first time in franchise history. On the Friday after the holiday, a road trip to Cincinnati follows. Returning home, for the Saturday game of the second three in three of the month, Worcester comes calling once again. The final game of November is the first of three straight games against Reading, this time on the road.
To open the final calendar month of 2017, it’s another three-in-three for the team from the Friendly City. Friday and Saturday, the 1st and 2nd see visits from division rival Reading and Saturday the 3rd sees Wesbanco Arena welcome the Fort Wayne Komets. Eleven more games are scheduled for the Nailers in December and the split is eight at home and six on the road. Wednesday, the 6th sees Wheeling return to East Central Pennsylvania for a midweek date with the Royals. The three-game road swing continues Friday, December 8 at Indy and concludes the next night in Toledo against the Walleye. Another weeknight home game occurs on Tuesday, December 12 as the Fuel make the first of two visits to Wesbanco in the month. The 15th and 16th see another two-game set on the road against Reading. The following weekend sees division rival Brampton Beast make a visit to Wheeling for a pair of games. A trip to the Allen County War Memorial to face the Komets starts games after the Christmas break on the 29th. On the 30th, the Walleye visit and on New Year’s Eve Indy comes calling in what is always a popular game.
As the calendar turns to 2018, a Wednesday date with the Admirals in Norfolk awaits the team on the 3rd. On Friday, the 5th, the Nailers start a three-in-three set, starting at home against Manchester. The following night a visit to the Queen City for a game against the Cyclones, before returning home to finish the weekend, another visit from the Komets. The 10th sees a visit from Adirondack, before a pair of games at home against Norfolk on the 12th and 13th. A New England road weekend follows for the Nailers, as they play Friday in Manchester followed by a pair in Worcester for the first visit in franchise history.
A seven-game homestand ends January and starts February. Kalamazoo comes calling for a midweek affair on the 24th. A weekend pair with the Monarchs follows to close out January. February starts with a visit from Indy for the final time this season. The following night sees the Komets in town before finishing the homestand with a Wednesday night game against the Walleye. After a three in three in Orlando the 9th-12th, the Nailers return home for games against Fort Wayne and the Cyclones Friday and Saturday the 16th and 17th. Reading gets a visit from the boys from the Friendly City on the 18th.
On Saturday, the 21st of February, a Kalamazoo trip is the second game of a six-game road swing. The 25th of February starts a stretch of 12 straight divisional games. The first four are a second New England road trip starting the 25th in Glens Falls, NY against the Thunder. Wednesday the 28th sees the Nailers close out February in Manchester against the Monarchs. March 2nd and 3rd see a second trip to Worcester to close out the trip. A third game against the Railers follows on Wednesday, this time in Wheeling. A pair at home against the Royals occur the weekend of the 9th and 10th. On Friday 16th the Nailers begin a three-game trip in Worcester. The following night the Nailers are in Glens Falls, NY before ending the trip on Sunday in Reading. A visit from Worcester on the 21st and Brampton on Friday the 23rd end the crucial 12-game stretch for the team.
The final three weeks of the season see Cincinnati visit on the 24th of March, followed by a trip to Toledo on the 30th. The Nailers return home the following night to close out the home portion of the schedule against Manchester. A trip to Ontario, to face the Beast begins the final weekend on April 6th before ending the season in Fort Wayne, IN on the 7th of April.
A breakdown of the schedule shows the Nailers play 36 games against divisional opponents. The team they will face the most is Reading. The schedule breaks down as follows
Breakdown by days of the week
While weekday games usually come with low attendance numbers, two of these are education days and will be sellouts as local schools will get a large number of tickets to these games scheduled for 10:45 am.
A rather balanced schedule helps the Nailers as they embark on their 26th season in Wheeling. Having never missed a season since moving to West Virginia in 1992, they are the longest tenured team in one city in the ECHL (Toledo suspended operations, for two seasons, during the construction of Huntington Center.)