We had two games here (in Johnstown) over the weekend (the Nailers lost both). Right now, Wheeling is basically trying to tread water like the rest
of the organization. They now share their affiliation with Montreal, but the Penguins still provide the most players. Currently, six players have been recalled to Wilkes Barre, of interest are two Penguin signings, Nick Peterson and Joey Haddad. Also called up was Andrew Orpik (Brook’s Brother) after his two goal game on Friday. Two Hab prospects have been called up to Hamilton (Bulldogs) and their Captain, Andrew Lord is currently on loan to Oklahoma City.
They are pretty much doing what team’s in the ECHL do when the call ups start. Signing free agents, trades etc., They also have a working arrangement with the New York Aviator’s of the new Federal League. Despite all this, they’re still in first place with an 6 point lead (and lead the ECHL in scoring!).
Good News For Johnstown:
Wheeling will be returning to Johnstown again next year for 10 games. This year the team has so far averaged 1800 per game here which is about 700 per game short of their “break even” target but there does appear to be some momentum building. The experiment is kind of interesting due to the fact that the local Chiefs moved out and the team considered their biggest rival moved in. It took a little time for the locals to warm up to the Nailers but with each passing game, the cheering gets a little louder, and the Nailer’s merchandise has started to move off the shelves.
The seemingly low attendance numbers (if your glass is half full) are not as bad as one would think. The 1800 figure is actually playing to 85% of the capacity the Chief’s drew here their last year so they may feel they are on the fast track towards establishing the Nailer brand in Johnstown.
This announcement should put an end to other rumors, such as the newly forming Northern Professional Hockey League (NPHL), which was showing an open interest in Johnstown.