WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced a set of transactions, which all take effect immediately. Forward Yushiroh Hirano has joined Team Japan for a Pre-Olympic Qualification Tournament in Jesenice, Slovenia. The Nailers signed forward Brady Fleurent, while trading defenseman Cameron Heath to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits and defenseman Jack Macnee to the Worcester Railers. Both trades were in exchange for future considerations.
Hirano, 24, played for Team Japan last summer in the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, and has earned the opportunity to represent his home country once again. Japan will face Croatia, Lithuania, and Slovenia in a four-team tournament from February 6-9. The winner of the tournament will advance to a final qualification round in August. Yushiroh is currently tied for Wheeling's team lead with 29 points in 39 games. His season has featured two especially strong runs, as he opened the year with points in seven straight games, then tallied points in six consecutive contests from December 1-14. Hirano's 106 career ECHL games are the second most by a Japanese-born player all-time.
Fleurent, 25, has spent the majority of his rookie season with the SPHL's Knoxville Ice Bears, collecting six goals, 15 assists, and 21 points in 28 games. In January, he appeared in four games with the South Carolina Stingrays, and scored one goal, which came in a 5-1 victory over the Atlanta Gladiators. Last year, Brady made his pro debut with the Gladiators, picking up one goal, two assists, and three points in six tilts. The native of Biddeford, Maine played college hockey in his home town, as he attended the University of New England. Fleurent eclipsed the 50-point plateau twice with the Nor'easters, en route to a 181-point collegiate career.
Heath, 25, appeared in ten games with the Nailers this season, tallying one assist in 13 games. Cameron was acquired by Wheeling in a trade with the Reading Royals, after beginning his pro career last spring with the South Carolina Stingrays. Macnee, 23, made his pro debut with Wheeling last spring, and was scoreless in 16 games this season.
The Nailers will continue their six-game homestand on Wednesday night, when they face the Norfolk Admirals at 7:05. The first 2,000 fans will receive a free koozie. Then, Wheeling will host the Orlando Solar Bears on Friday and Saturday, with Friday being a Frosty Friday, followed by Country Roads Night on Saturday. All tickets for Country Roads Night are $10, the first 2,000 fans will receive a free cowbell, and there will be a Mechanical Bull Riding Contest. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley. For information on season tickets, group tickets, partial plans, and more, call (304) 234-GOAL.