The Wheeling Nailers announced that they have extended their affiliation agreement with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League.
Wheeling enters its 18th consecutive season as the ECHL affiliate for the Pittsburgh Penguins, which is the longest active affiliation between an NHL and ECHL team. The 2015-16 season will also mark the 16th straight season that the Nailers will be affiliated with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, dating back to their inception into the AHL in 1999. Over the course of those years, 15 former Nailers have made their NHL debuts with the Penguins, including forwards Bobby Farnham and Dominik Uher, who both accomplished that feat during the 2014-15 campaign. In total, 17 former Nailers/Thunderbirds have donned a Pittsburgh uniform during their NHL careers.
“We are very happy to extend our relationship with such an outstanding organization in the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins,” said Nailers Governor Don Rigby. “We take a lot of pride in having the longest active affiliation agreement in the ECHL, and we look forward to having another exciting season on the ice with their prospects.”
The 2015-16 season will mark the first season since 2009-10 that the Nailers will have the Penguins as their sole NHL affiliate, after sharing an affiliation with Pittsburgh and the Montreal Canadiens from 2010-15.
“We are very proud to continue the longest active NHL-ECHL affiliation,” said Nailers Head Coach Clark Donatelli. “We have the opportunity to work with some first class athletes, and develop those players into successful professionals both on and off of the ice.”