WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced that six players have returned to Wheeling from American Hockey League Training Camps. Those players are Derek Army, Danny Fick, Garrett Meurs, Kevin Schulze, Josh Shalla, and Nick Sorkin. Shalla attended camp with the Chicago Wolves, while the other five were with the WIlkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
Army, 25, is set to embark on his third full season as a pro. Derek was a member of the ECHL All-Rookie Team in 2014-15, as he racked up 29 goals, 37 assists, and 66 points, while appearing in all 72 regular season contests. Last season, the North Kingstown, Rhode Island native saw action with four AHL clubs, while helping the Nailers to the Kelly Cup Final with ten playoff points.
Fick, 25, is preparing for his second season in a Wheeling uniform. After spending one year in Norway, Danny made his North American professional debut with the Nailers in 2015-16, appearing in 53 games, posting three goals, four assists, and seven points. The Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota native served as a reliable defender in the team's run to the Kelly Cup Final, as he led the way with a +5 rating in round one against Florida.
Meurs, 23, begins his fourth season as a pro, but his first outside of the Colorado Avalanche organization. Garrett spent a good portion of the last two seasons with the Fort Wayne Komets, with 2015-16 being his best campaign, as he lit the lamp 18 times, while putting up 35 points in 51 games. The Wingham, Ontario native has also had significant AHL experience in his career, appearing in 87 games with the Lake Erie Monsters and San Antonio Rampage.
Schulze, 23, came to Wheeling just in time for the memorable run to the Eastern Conference Championship last spring, after he finished a four-year college career at the Universtiy of Wisconsin. Kevin suited up in three regular season matches and eight playoff games for the Nailers. In four years as a Badger, the White Bear Lake, Minnesota native compiled ten goals, 36 assists, and 46 points in 148 contests.
Shalla, 25, enters his fifth pro season, joining his third ECHL squad. Josh broke into the pros in the Nashville Predators organization, splitting time with the Milwaukee Admirals and Cincinnati Cyclones over the course of three seasons. The Whitby, Ontario native got off to a strong start with 24 goals as a rookie in 2012-13, then set a career high in points with 43 in 2014-15. Last year, Shalla took his talents to the Toledo Walleye, where he posted 20 goals, 22 assists, and 42 points in 67 games for the regular season points leaders from the Eastern Conference.
Sorkin, 25, returns to North America after spending one season in Sweden, playing for Vesteras IK. There, he amassed 15 goals and 24 points in 46 games. Nick's professional experience on this side of the Atlantic Ocean came with the Hamilton Bulldogs, with whom he appeared in 77 games, totaling 12 goals, 14 assists, and 26 points. The Rockville, Maryland native also played four years of college hockey at the University of New Hampshire.
In a separate transaction, the Nailers released nine players - Spencer Bacon, Michal Beranek, Brent Clarke, MJ Graham, Jiri Hajda, Cam Moniz, Tomas Nemeth, Josh Pietrantonio, and Johan Sorkin.
The 25th season of professional hockey in Wheeling begins on Saturday night, when the Nailers play host to the Brampton Beast at 7:05. The Eastern Conference Championship Banner gets raised to the rafters, and alumni such as Doug Sauter, Brock Woods, and Sean Collins will be on hand for the celebration. To purchase tickets, or to get more information on season tickets, mini plans, and group tickets, call the Nailers at (304) 234-GOAL.