Nailers to Compete in North Division in 2016-17
WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, will compete in a new division during the 2016-17 season. The ECHL announced its divisional alignment for the upcoming campaign, which was approved by the Board of Governors.
The Nailers will compete in the North Division of the Eastern Conference, along with the Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Elmira Jackals, Manchester Monarchs, and Reading Royals. Brampton is the only one out of the five that was a divisional opponent for Wheeling in 2015-16, while the Nailers were last in a division with Elmira and Reading during the 2013-14 season. Adirondack and Manchester both joined the ECHL in the summer of 2015. Wheeling's 2015-16 record against its new division rivals was 19-9-3 in the regular season and 4-3 in the playoffs.
The first two rounds of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs will be played entirely within the division, with the division winner playing the fourth-place finisher and the second-place team meeting the third-place team in the Division Semifinals. The winners of each series will meet in the Division Finals. The North Division Champion will then face the South Division Champion in the Eastern Conference Championship Series. The new format will allow most teams to have a better chance of playing traditional rivals in the first two rounds of the playoffs, and to allow for more economical travel.
The South Division consists of the Atlanta Gladiators, Cincinnati Cyclones, Florida Everblades, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Norfolk Admirals, Orlando Solar Bears, and South Carolina Stingrays.
In the Western Conference, the Central Division, consists of the Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings, Quad City Mallards, Toledo Walleye, Tulsa Oilers, and Wichita Thunder. Then, the Mountain Division teams are the Alaska Aces, Allen Americans, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Missouri Mavericks, Rapid City Rush, Utah Grizzlies.
The Nailers will face the Central Division the most, playing those clubs 32 times, followed by 24 against their new opponents in the North Division, and finally, eight games each against the South and Mountain Divisions.
Opening Night for the 25th season of professional hockey in Wheeling will be a battle of division rivals, as the Nailers clash with the Brampton Beast on October 15th at 7:05.
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ECHL Stories from July 11, 2016
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