The Pittsburgh Penguins have extended their affiliation agreement with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL for the 2015-16 season.
The Nailers will enter their 17th consecutive season as the Penguins’ Double-A affiliate, and it will be the 16th unchanged season for the Penguins minor league affiliates, the Nailers and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the American Hockey League.
“We are pleased to extend our partnership with the Wheeling Nailers,” said Penguins Associate General Manager Jason Botterill in a press release. “The Penguins and Nailers have the longest active NHL-ECHL affiliation, and we are looking forward to maintaining that successful partnership.”
Over the last 17 years, 15 players have moved on from the Nailers to the Penguins, including forwards Bobby Farnham and Dominik Uher, who made their NHL debuts in the 2014-15 season.
“We are very happy to extend our relationship with such an outstanding organization in the Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins,” said Nailers Governor Don Rigby. “We take a lot of pride in having the longest active affiliation agreement in the ECHL, and we look forward to having another exciting season on the ice with their prospects.”
Nailers head coach Clark Donatelli was one of the instructors at the Penguins’ prospect development camp last week and is excited to get started on another season of working with the team.
“We have the opportunity to work with some first class athletes, and develop those players into successful professionals both on and off of the ice,” Donatelli said.
For the first time six seasons, the Penguins will be the Nailers’ sole affiliate. They had shared an affiliation with the Montreal Canadiens from 2009-1o to 2014-15.
The Nailers have already signed three players to ECHL contracts for next season: forwards Derek Army, Jarrett Burton and Cody Wydo (Robert Morris).
Photo credit: Brian Mitchell