WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce their first player signing of the 2021 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed forward Matt Alfaro to an ECHL contract.
Alfaro, 24, is coming off of an excellent rookie season, as he ranked fourth in the ECHL among first year players with 13 goals, 28 assists, and 41 points in 61 games. Matt found success quickly as a pro, as he collected six points in his first eight games, including his first game winning goal, which came in overtime against Greenville. The Calgary, Alberta native's best stretch with Wheeling took place through most of February, when he registered at least one point in nine consecutive games - the longest streak by a Nailer in 2020-21. Alfaro tallied multiple points in a game on seven different occasions, with the biggest of those being a four-point performance against Fort Wayne in a 4-3 overtime win on April 7th. Following that game, Matt earned a brief call-up to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
"Matt Alfaro took a big step in his career last year, as we relied on him in every situation," said Nailers Head Coach Derek Army. "He has a bright future as a player and as a leader, and we are really excited to have him back, as he continues to progress with our organization."
Being toward the top of his team's leaderboard in scoring is nothing new for Alfaro, who led the University of Calgary Dinos in scoring with 15 goals, 21 assists, and 36 points in 27 games during his final year of school in 2019-20. That performance earned him selections on the USports (West) First All-Star Team and USports All-Canadian Second Team. He also finished his junior career as nearly a point per game player, as he racked up 60 points in 61 games during the 2016-17 WHL campaign with the Kootenay Ice and Lethbridge Hurricanes.
"I am really excited to be back in Wheeling, where I was able to gain lots of confidence, knowing the organization and the coaching staff," Alfaro said. "I got a good taste of the pro lifestyle last year, and this year, I look to improve on that, while being a leader on and off the ice, and helping the team get back to its winning ways."
Matt Alfaro and the Wheeling Nailers will begin the team's 30th season in Fort Wayne on October 23rd, before the team plays its home opener against the Komets on Saturday, November 6th at 7:10. Season memberships are available, and fans can get more information by calling (304) 234-GOAL. 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.