WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, are excited to announce that Kyle McKenzie has been named the team's new Assistant Coach.
McKenzie, 29, spent a brief part of his playing career with the Nailers, as he was acquired in a trade from the Worcester Railers, just prior to the 2019-20 season coming to an abrupt end. Kyle played four seasons in the ECHL, mostly with Worcester, before he concluded his career on the ice last season as a member of the Jacksonville Icemen. He appeared in 174 career games, and collected five goals, 17 assists, and 22 points as a defenseman.
"I had the opportunity to be teammates with Kyle, as well as be his coach," said Nailers Head Coach Derek Army. "He was hard-working and gritty as a player, and I expect he will bring those same qualities into his coaching."
Prior to turning pro, the Aston, Pennsylvania native played four years of college hockey at Providence College. The 2013-14 season was Kyle's freshman year and Derek Army's senior year. Army and McKenzie have been connected since Derek's playing days as well, as Kyle played parts of two seasons in Worcester with Army as his assistant coach. McKenzie brings championship experience to the Nailers coaching staff, as he won an NCAA National Championship with Providence in 2015, and also captured two USHL Clark Cup Championships with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2011 and 2013.
"I am excited to be back in Wheeling, and can't wait to start my coaching career with the Nailers," McKenzie said. "I am incredibly thankful to the Nailers organization, Brian Komorowski, and Derek Army for giving me this opportunity, and I am looking forward to helping the team continue on its path toward a Kelly Cup."
McKenzie is the fourth straight assistant coach who previously played for Wheeling, following Derek Army, Brad Drobot, and Ryan Kuwabara.
Kyle McKenzie will get to begin his coaching career with three straight home games this weekend. The first of those games will be Friday night at 7:10, when the Nailers host the Fort Wayne Komets as part of a Frosty Friday. Then, highlight game of the homestand is Wizards & Wands Night on Saturday at 7:10 against the Cincinnati Cyclones. That night will feature a wand giveaway, a wizarding school acceptance letter, quidditch during intermission, a sorting hat station, butter beer, specialty jerseys, and more. Ticket packages and single game tickets are available for the 2022-23 season by visiting wheelingnailers.com or 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.