WHEELING, W.V. – The first few weeks of the 2017-18 part of the offseason are in the books and the Nailers front office has been busy.
Last week, the team announced the first of three player signings and the promotional schedule, which includes a surprise in it for fans of a popular 1990s television show. First let’s visit the signings, then get to a few highlights on the promotional schedule.
On July 6, the team announced defenseman Kevin Schulze would be returning for his second year as a pro, after tying for the team lead in points in 2016-17 with 13 goals and 47 assists for 60 points (tied with Cody Wydo (30-30-60.) In addition, Kevin was also selected as the Nailers representative at the ECHL All-Star Classic and named to the All-ECHL Rookie team and All-ECHL second team. He registered a four-point game on “Education Day” with four assists, and a two-goal game against Elmira on New Year’s Eve scoring them 26 seconds apart in the second period. Kevin also appeared in one game for the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Four days later, the Nailers announced the second signing of the 2017-18 season, Daniel Leavens. In his first taste of professional hockey, the Robert Morris University grad lit the lamp five times in just seven games for the black and vegas gold.
Leavens scored in his professional debut against the Idaho Steelheads at Wesbanco Arena as part of a 4-1 home victory. He also posted a two-goal game against the Brampton Beast including the game winning goal in a 4-3 Nailers victory. On Fan Appreciation Night, he gave the fans something to appreciate, scoring a goal and racking up three assists in a 7-2 dismantling of the Kalamazoo Wings. The Toronto, Ontario native would end the season with five goals and three assists for eight points in just seven games for Wheeling.
This past Tuesday, the Nailers welcomed back Danny Fick, who played in 69 of the Nailers 72 contests last season. The St. Croix, Minnesota native missed those three games at the end of the year after earning a call-up to the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, where he appeared in two games.
Danny, who was a member of the 2015-16 Nailers team that won the 2016 Eastern Conference Championship team as a rookie, served as an alternate captain at times during the 2016-17 edition of the Nailers. The Harvard University grad played a more important role this season as he was used to shutdown other teams top forwards as well as seeing time on the penalty kill. He notched three goals and 12 assists for 15 points on the year and was rated a plus-3, showing just how important he was to the team’s defensive success last year.
Also this week, the team released this year’s promotional schedule. In addition to the home opener in October and Fan Appreciation Night in March, the Nailers have traditional promotional games such as the Teddy Bear toss game in November and popular games on both Thanksgiving Eve and New Year’s Eve.
But, the biggest promotion of the season is on February 2, when the team does 90’s night starring Alfonso Riberio, who played “Carlton” on the popular 90s television show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and is responsible for this dance:
Also included is a pair of Education Day games and many other exciting promotions. To see the full promotional schedule you can visit http://www.wheelingnailers.com/news/nailers-announce-2017-18-promotional-schedule.
In other news associated with the Nailers, it was announced on Thursday that former Nailers Captain Derek Army has signed with the Milwaukee Admirals of the AHL. Last season, Army notched 12 points (7G, 5A) in 37 games with the Admirals.
For the latest list of player signings across the ECHL, visit our 2017 ECHL Transactions page!