WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that a 67th former Nailer/Thunderbird has made his National Hockey League debut. Hayden Hodgson reached the NHL on Thursday night for the Philadelphia Flyers, who faced the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center.
Hodgson played in 18 games for the Nailers during the 2020-21 season, as he joined the team in January, after previously having his ECHL rights held by the Reading Royals. Hayden collected two goals, four assists, six points, and 41 penalty minutes in a Wheeling uniform, and both of his goals came on the power play against the Indy Fuel. He also had success in his lone fight with the Nailers, as he defeated Fort Wayne's Shawn Szydlowski.
The 26-year old played in parts of four seasons in the ECHL, and suited up for six different teams. This season, Hodgson made the jump to the American Hockey League, and ranked third in scoring for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, as he notched 18 goals, 11 assists, and 29 points in 44 games. That was the second time in the AHL for the Windsor, Ontario native, who appeared in 41 games as a rookie for the Cleveland Monsters in 2017-18.
On Thursday, Hodgson assisted on the opening goal by Tomas Konecny, then experienced the ultimate moment of scoring a goal in his first game, as he made the score 4-2 in the third period. He was also a +3 with a team-leading four hits. The Flyers defeated the Blues, 5-2.
Hayden Hodgson becomes the 67th Nailer/Thunderbird to reach the NHL and 61st in the players category. He is the second former Wheeling player to do so this season, as he joins Ethan Prow, who also scored a goal in his debut.