The Wheeling Nailers
Wheeling is home to their very own professional ice hockey team, the Wheeling Nailers! The Nailers are in the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and are affiliated with the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Wesbanco Arena is the home of the Nailers.
The Wheeling Nailers have acquired rich history over the years as well as the title of the oldest surviving minor league franchise below the American Hockey League (AHL). Their perseverance through the years have earned them multiple championships including 2 regular season titles, 3 division championships, 2 conference championships, as well as a recent trip to the Kelly Cup Finals.
What’s a Nailer?!?
The Nailers were known as the Thunderbirds from 1981-1996 until a trademark dispute came about. A contest was held by the franchise to choose a new name and a local fan entered ‘Nailers.’ The name was chosen for the city’s long history of nail manufacturing that traces back to the late 1800s. Although nail manufacturing is no longer present in the city, the legacy of it lives on through the Wheeling Nailers.
The Nailers’ NHL affiliate, the Pittsburgh Penguins, are just a short trip northeast of Wheeling. The action never stops at PPG Paints Arena in downtown Pittsburgh as the 5-time Stanley Cup Champions continue to prove powerful every season. The Penguins have won 3 of those 5 in the past 9 years and 2 back to back in the most recent seasons, 2016 and 2017. Some of the current team’s finest and most well-known include Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, both of whom have been huge influences on the Penguins’ past 3 Stanley Cup teams. The most recent Nailers alum who were on the 2017 Stanley Cup Penguins team include Tom Kuhnhackl, Carter Rowney, and Josh Archibald.
Other Sports Attractions
Other sports attractions include the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field, the Washington Wild Things, a minor baseball team out of Washington, PA, and the Ohio Valley Roller Girls. College sports run rampant in every direction including major Division 1 schools like WVU, Pitt, Penn State, Ohio State, and local college teams at West Liberty University and Wheeling Jesuit University.