WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that defenseman Kevin Schulze has been named to the 2016-17 ECHL All-Rookie Team.
Schulze, 23, first came to the Nailers at the end of the 2015-16 season, appearing in three regular season games and eight postseason contests, giving him an early taste of professional hockey, after completing his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin. Kevin has been an elite performer throughout his rookie campaign with Wheeling, entering the final week in a three-man race to be the team's leading scorer. The White Bear Lake, Minnesota native has collected 12 goals, 45 assists, and 57 points. The 57 points are the fourth most in a single season by a defenseman in team history, and he is the first rookie blueliner to eclipse 50 points in one year. Some highlights during the season for Schulze include: his first career point on October 15th, his first pro goal on October 29th, a four-point day on November 15th, and his first ever two-goal game on December 31st. Kevin's 17 multiple point game are the most on the squad, while his 18 power play assists rank second. His 57 points are the most in the ECHL among rookie defensemen, and fourth in the league among all first-year players.
"We are thrilled to see Kevin Schulze's fantastic rookie season honored with his selection on the ECHL All-Rookie Team," said Nailers Head Coach Jeff Christian. "Kevin was brought in as an ATO at the end of last season, and that really helped him reach his potential this season as one of the best players in our lineup and around the league. Wheeling has a strong history of bringing in good young players, and developing them, and we believe that Schulze is a great representation of that model."
Kevin Schulze becomes the 14th player in Wheeling history to be selected to the ECHL All-Rookie Team, and the first since Derek Army in 2014-15. The last Nailers defenseman to be named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team was Andrew Hotham in 2011-12. Wheeling has had at least one player chosen to an end of season team for four straight years and eight of the last nine campaigns. Schulze is joined on the 2016-17 ECHL All-Rookie Team by fellow defenseman Nolan Zajac (Toledo), forwards Mike Cazzola (Fort Wayne), Tylor Spink (Toledo), and Tyson Spink (Toledo), and goaltender Landon Bow (Idaho).
The Nailers will begin their final week of the regular season on Wednesday in Brampton at 7:15. Wheeling will then return home for its last home contest of the regular year on Friday night at 7:35 against Kalamazoo. That will be Fan Appreciation Night, in addition to Flat Screen Friday and Frosty Friday. To purchase tickets, or to get more information about season tickets, group tickets, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.