Official Release: Habs Renew ECHL Affiliation with Wheeling Nailers

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Nailers And Canadiens Renew Affiliation
July 30th,2012 | Press Release

WHEELING, WVA- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, are excited to announce that they have agreed to terms to extend the second of their two affiliations. The Nailers and Montreal Canadiens will be affiliated once again, with both clubs also continuing their affiliation with the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs.

In the 20-year history of the franchise, Wheeling has had a strong history of developing players for the National Hockey League, as 43 players have suited up for the Nailers/Thunderbirds, on their way to playing at hockey’s highest level. Seven of those 43 players made their NHL debut with the Canadiens, including Tomas Vokoun and Francis Bouillon, who have both spent at least ten seasons at professional hockey’s highest level, and will continue their NHL careers in the fall. Frederic Chabot, Craig Ferguson, Scott Fraser, Patrick Labrecque, and Yves Sarault complete the list of former Nailers/Thunderbirds who debuted with Montreal.

During the 2011-12 season, the Nailers’ roster contained two players that spent time in both Wheeling and Hamilton. Goaltender Peter Delmas had his second straight strong season with the Nailers, and has posted a 33-20-5 career mark in 61 games played in the Ohio Valley. This past season, Delmas also appeared in four games with the Bulldogs, including a 26-save effort in a 2-1 win over the Toronto Marlies on January 15th. Olivier Dame-Malka made his professional debut this season, posting 7-11-18 totals in 36 games with Wheeling, as well as 1-2-3 totals in 21 games with Hamilton. After starting the season with the Bulldogs, Dame-Malka spent most of the next five months with the Nailers, before being permanently recalled to the AHL at the beginning of March.

“We are very excited to be working with the Montreal Canadiens again this season.” said team Vice President Craig Bommer. ” We look forward to working with them to help develop their young talent.”

The Wheeling Nailers will begin the 2012-13 season on October 13th, when they visit the Cincinnati Cyclones. The first game at WesBanco Arena takes place on October 26th, when the Nailers play host to the Reading Royals.