WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce their eighth player signing of the 2021 offseason. Wheeling has re-signed forward Patrick Watling to an ECHL contract.
Watling, 27, returns for his second season with the Nailers, after a phenomenal 2020-21 season, which saw him finish tied for the team lead with 48 points. Patrick had a couple of standout performances during the campaign. First, on January 31st, he assisted on all four of the team's goals in a 4-3 comeback win over the Indy Fuel. Then, on May 8th, he netted the 14th four-goal game in team history as part of a five-point night in an 8-5 triumph over the Jacksonville Icemen. In addition to being tied for the lead in points, Watling also finished first on the club in assists (30), power play points (13), and multi-point games (14), while earning ECHL Player of the Week honors twice.
"Patrick Watling has produced everywhere he's played, from juniors to university to pro," said Nailers Head Coach Derek Army. "He has great vision and a knack for putting points on the board. Last season, he had some standout performances for us, and we look to see that continue, as we push toward the Kelly Cup."
This is the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native's second time playing professionally, as he spent the majority of three seasons with the Orlando Solar Bears from 2014-17, while also appearing in 29 AHL contests with the Toronto Marlies. Watling has amassed 137 points in 154 career ECHL games. In the middle of his two stints as a pro, Patrick attended the University of New Brunswick, where he majored in Chemical Engineering, while playing for the Reds. In 2019, the Reds captured the David Johnston University Cup, which is awarded to Canada's USports champion. Watling produced at over a point-per-game clip that season, as he tallied 34 points in 30 games. Patrick's dedication to education also dates back to his junior career, as he won the Roger Neilson Award as the top academic university/college player in the Ontario Hockey League in 2013-14.
"I am really happy to come back to Wheeling, as we have a tight knit group, and I think we can carry some momentum from last year to this year and have a different start to the season," Watling said. "Last year was a good year for me personally, as I was relied upon a lot. I'm looking forward to continuing that and taking on more responsibility."
Patrick Watling 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.