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Six Former Nailers to Play in 2022 Olympics

Tuesday, February 1st
Six Former Nailers to Play in 2022 Olympics

WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers are looking forward to the 2022 Winter Olympics, as there will be six former Nailers playing in the games. Alex Grant and Ben Street will be playing for Canada, Tom Kuhnhackl and Frederik Tiffels will be playing for Germany, Renars Krastenbergs will be playing for Latvia, and Zach Yuen will be playing for China.

Grant, 33, played the first two seasons of his pro career with the Nailers in 2009-10 and 2010-11. Alex finished third among Wheeling defenseman with 27 points in 40 games as a rookie, then in addition to regular season action, played in all 17 playoff games during his second year, as the Nailers reached the Eastern Conference Final. The Antigonish, Nova Scotia native spent the first four seasons of his career in the Penguins organization, before signing with the Anaheim Ducks in 2013. That's when his NHL dream came true, as Grant scored in each of his first two games with the Ducks. Alex is currently playing in his fourth season with Jokerit Helsinki in Finland.

Street, 34, was also part of the 2010-11 Nailers team which reached the Eastern Conference Final, as that was his rookie season. Ben had an elite first year as a pro in Wheeling, as he racked up 24 goals, 27 assists, and 51 points in 38 games, en route to being chosen as the ECHL Rookie of the Year. The Port Coquitlam, British Columbia native spent the next ten years of his career in both the NHL and AHL, playing in six different organizations. 2018-19 was when he saw the most NHL time, as he notched three goals and five points in 21 games with Anaheim. This year, Street is playing for Munich EHC in Germany.

Kuhnhackl, 30, is one of two former Nailers all-time to win the Stanley Cup twice, as he did so with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017. Tom played the first two games of his pro career with Wheeling in 2012-13, then returned to make a much larger impact down the stretch in 2013-14. He collected 14 points in 16 regular season games, then added six playoff goals, including an overtime winner, as the Nailers earned their first ever four-game sweep. The Landshut, Germany native enjoyed three seasons with Pittsburgh, then played two more years with the New York Islanders, and currently ranks seventh among former Nailers with 232 NHL games played. This season, Kuhnhackl is playing for Skelleftea AIK in Sweden.

Tiffels, 26, played one season of pro hockey in North America, and that was mostly spent with the Nailers in 2017-18. Frederik was part of a strong rookie class that season, as he ranked fifth on the team among first year players with 16 goals, 17 assists, and 33 points in 44 games, while he also saw time in the AHL. The Cologne, Germany native has played the last four seasons of his career in his home country, spending three years with the Cologne Sharks, before joining Munich EHC this season.

Krastenbergs, 23, is the most recent Nailer in the games, as he played the first two seasons of his pro career in Wheeling from 2018-20. Renars tallied 32 goals, 42 assists, and 74 points in 114 games with the Nailers, and was one of the youngest players to ever play for the club, as he made his debut at age 19. The Jelgava, Latvia native played six games for Riga Dynamo in the KHL last season, but since then, he has been playing for VSV EC in Austria.

Yuen, 28, came to Wheeling to start the second year of his pro career in 2014-15. Zach appeared in 27 games with the Nailers, and posted seven points from the blueline. After leaving Wheeling, he went on to play in one more ECHL season, before taking his talents across the pond. The Vancouver, British Columbia native is currently playing in his fourth full season with Kunlun Red Star in China.

Canada and Germany will open the tournament against each other on Thursday, February 10th. Latvia and China will also play their first games that day, as Latvia faces Sweden, and China faces the United States.

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