WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have announced their 2021 training camp schedule and roster.
The Nailers will open their 2021 training camp at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry on Monday, October 11th at 12:10 p.m. They will then shift to Printscape Arena in Canonsburg on Tuesday, October 12th at 1:00 p.m. The team will hit the ice at WesBanco Arena for the first time on Wednesday, October 13th and Thursday, October 14th, with both practices beginning at 10:30 a.m. Friday, October 15th will be a 10:00 a.m. morning skate, leading to the exhibition opener against the Fort Wayne Komets at 7:10 p.m. All practices are open to the public, and fans must stay in the seating bowl, as ice level access is not permitted.
The first training camp roster for Head Coach Derek Army and Assistant Coach Ryan Kuwabara consists of 14 forwards, nine defensemen, and two goaltenders for a total of 25 players.
Starting in the crease, the Nailers have one familiar face and one new face to start their training camp. Louis-Philip Guindon came to Wheeling in May, and had a solid showing in five games, as he posted a .903 save percentage. He will be joined by Michael Barrett, who had a phenomenal career at Adrian College, which finished with a 12-0-0 record in 2020-21.
On the blueline, Dylan MacPherson and Adam Smith will be looked at as two key leaders, as both enter their third pro seasons and second with the Nailers. Both have spent time in the AHL, including MacPherson last season with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Jesse Lees saw his 2020-21 campaign take off like a rocket when he arrived in Nail City, as he racked up ten goals and 16 points in 27 games. He, Matt Miller, and Matt Foley will all shed the rookie tag, as they look to continue their strong play at the pro level. Miller finished last year as a team best +7. Jake Flegel is one of the new names on defense, and he already made a name for himself in training camp with the Baby Pens, as he dropped the gloves twice. Flegel has prior experience in the ECHL, as do Ivan Chukarov and Josh Victor, who join the squad. Rounding out the blueliners is Alex Stevens out of Penn State University, who pairs a powerful slap shot with a hard all-around game.
Up front, the Nailers return one of their top scorers from a year ago, as Patrick Watling finished tied for the team lead with 48 points in 51 contests. Matt Alfaro and Sean Josling had standout starts to their pro careers, as they ranked fourth and 16th respectively in rookie scoring. Wheeling had a significant amount of players join the team toward the end of last season and gain valuable experience, which should lead to them having success in 2021-22. Included in that mix are Jared Cockrell, Tim Doherty, and Brendan Harris. There is another returning player among the forwards, which will be exciting for the fans, as Tyler Drevitch is back for his second campaign wearing black and Vegas gold. Among the newcomers, Brandon Saigeon is the most experienced at this level, as he posted an 18-point season with Utah in 2019-20. 6-foot-6 Matt Ustaski has also played in the ECHL before, as he comes in with 17 points in 36 career games. Cam Hausinger and Felix Paré played their junior hockey on different sides of the continent, but both bring a mixture of skill and toughness to the table. Rounding out the forwards are Bobby Hampton (Penn State), Cameron Hough (Weeks - MHL), and Zach White (Carolina - FPHL).
2021 Wheeling Nailers Training Camp RosterF Matt AlfaroG Michael BarrettD Ivan ChukarovF Jared CockrellF Tim DohertyF Tyler DrevitchD Jake FlegelD Matt FoleyG Louis-Philip GuindonF Bobby HamptonF Brendan HarrisF Cam HausingerF Cameron HoughF Sean JoslingD Jesse LeesD Dylan MacPhersonD Matt MillerF Felix ParéF Brandon SaigeonD Adam SmithD Alex StevensF Matt UstaskiD Josh VictorF Patrick WatlingF Zach White2021 Wheeling Nailers Training Camp ScheduleMon. Oct. 11- Practice at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, 12:10 p.m.Tue. Oct. 12- Practice at Printscape Arena, 1:00 p.m.Wed. Oct. 13- Practice at WesBanco Arena, 10:30 a.m.Thu. Oct. 14- Practice at WesBanco Arena, 10:30 a.m.Fri. Oct. 15- Morning Skate at WesBanco Arena, 10:00 a.m. Preseason Game vs. Fort Wayne, 7:10 p.m.Sat. Oct. 16- Morning Skate at WesBanco Arena, 10:00 a.m. Preseason Game at Fort Wayne, 7:30 p.m.