WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce their first player signing of the 2017 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed defenseman Kevin Schulze to an ECHL contract.
Schulze, 24, is coming off of the most productive season for a rookie defenseman in team history, as he piled up 13 goals, 47 assists, and 60 points in 68 games. Kevin accumulated multiple points in 17 games, including a career-high four points on Education Day against Brampton, which followed up a three-point performance in the previous contest. The White Bear Lake, Minnesota native's lone two-goal game took place on New Year's Eve against Elmira, and the goals came 24 seconds apart from each other. Schulze received league recognition for his phenomenal first season, as he was selected to represent the Nailers at the ECHL All-Star Classic, in addition to being named to the All-ECHL Second Team and ECHL All-Rookie Team. He is the fourth player in team history to earn two end-of-season honors from the league. Kevin's 60-point season ranks third in team history for a defenseman. The rookie blueliner also appeared in one AHL game with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
"We are excited to have Kevin Schulze back in the organization, coming off of an excellent rookie season," said Nailers Head Coach Jeff Christian. "He has a lot of speed and is a good puck mover, who we look at as a quarterback for our power play. He is a great locker room guy, and the players and fans love him."
One of eight players on the 2016-17 roster who also played for the 2016 Eastern Conference Champion squad, Schulze got his first taste of professional hockey at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, when he suited up in three regular season games and eight postseason contests. Prior to turning pro, Kevin attended the University of Wisconsin for four years, where he majored in Economics, while playing for the Badgers. Over the course of his college career, the reliable defenseman appeared in 148 games, totaling ten goals, 36 assists, and 46 points. He scored four goals in a season twice, while his 16-point campaign as a sophomore was his most productive overall.
"Last year, I had a really successful first year pro, and I am hoping to continue that in my second year," Schulze said. "My experience at the end of the year in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was great, as I got to learn from the older guys, and see how they conduct themselves on and off of the ice. Winning is the only thing that matters, and I had a blast going to the Kelly Cup Final when I first got here, so hopefully next year, we can make another long playoff run."
Kevin Schulze and the Wheeling Nailers will begin the 2017-18 season with two road games against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on October 13th and 14th. The home opener at WesBanco Arena takes place on October 21st at 7:05, when the Nailers do battle with the Cincinnati Cyclones. Be on the lookout for the promotional schedule and mini plan information in the near future. The Nailers will also be assisting the American Red Cross with a blood drive on July 10th, and holding a Free Agent Tryout Camp in Wilkes-Barre on July 22nd and 23rd. To purchase season or group tickets, or to get more information on tickets and events, call (304) 234-GOAL.