Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

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Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Keith on Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:42 pm

Went to the Nailers game last night. Only 2,226 in attendance for a second round playoff game against the top team in the conference. Less than 1,500 in attendance for their first home game of this series. Listening to the post game show on the way home, the announcer was pretty much begging people to show up for tonight's game.

They have a chance to clinch the series tonight and move onto the conference finals so I am curious to see how many will show up.

From what I can see, hockey is dead in Wheeling.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby K2 on Sat Apr 23, 2011 6:17 pm

That arena is a dump
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby canaan on Sat Apr 23, 2011 10:44 pm

I never got the stance of the arena affecting what happens on the ice. I mean, I know in a lot of people's eyes it had something to do with it, but who cares about the aesthetics when the rink itself is no different. /soapboxing
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby jimjom on Sat Apr 23, 2011 11:44 pm

I believe it is dead. The owners aren't turning a profit and haven't for years. The advertising is nonexistent. I remember when Brophy and Patrick coached and Konopka and D. Fata played, there were always commercials during Pens games and on the radio. It's a shame if they don't last there but if they're not turning a profit with a winning team then why stay. It's another unfortunate blow to the Ohio Valley.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Old Time Hockey on Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:43 am

When I lived in Pittsburgh, I went to about 7 or 8 Nailers Games a year and I had a blast everytime I went. Its to bad that the team is struggling when it comes to attendance.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby mac5155 on Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:31 am

They should have never traded superstar CPZ
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Pensfan2010 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 1:17 pm

It's a shame. I grew up about 10-15 minutes away from Wheeling and my family had season tickets for a number of years before moving away. But in the early years when they were the thunderbirds and even the first couple of years as the Nailers, they were absolutely everywhere in the community. I still have pictures of getting autographs and meeting the players all the time from when I was younger, Anyway as a result the Civic Center would be packed (especially with the games against Columbus Johnstown and Toledo, great rivalries). It seems that they are less visible and as you mentioned advertising less and they are getting nowhere near the crowds that they used to. It really is a great franchise that has a strong history of developing players including Tomas Vokoun, Mark Letestu, David Aebischer, Francis Bouillion, heck even Biz Nasty.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby jimjom on Mon Apr 25, 2011 8:06 pm

Id really hate to see that arena empty perhaps if they do leave a lesser league like the CHL or new IHL would move in. If that happens the team wouldn't have that same tradition though.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Pensfan2010 on Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:20 pm

jimjom wrote:Id really hate to see that arena empty perhaps if they do leave a lesser league like the CHL or new IHL would move in. If that happens the team wouldn't have that same tradition though.

The IHL actually merged with the CHL (still called the Central Hockey League) at the beginning of last year, and having seen a bunch of Central Hockey League games (when the steelhounds were in Youngstown) and ECHL games down in wheeling, I would say that the leagues are about on the same level. The Steelhounds used to play preseason games against the Dayton Bombers, Toledo Storm and Johnstown Chiefs and they were definitely on equal footing. The league that would be a step down from the ECHL and CHL would be the SPHL, and that league consists of teams all in the Southeast. (Pensacola, Knoxville, etc.)

I wonder if Junior Hockey would succeed in the Wheel. There were several teams that were in the Central Hockey League that folded and then purchased a franchise in the North American Hockey League, Jr A Tier 2 (Amarillo and Corpus Christi, TX for example). Costs are substantially lower, and a high attendance number wouldn't be required in order to help the club come closer to break even.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Why Not Us on Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:40 am

I used to go a lot during the lockout and the following season. It was a treat to watch guys like Bissonette, Andy Chiodo, Yutaka Fukufuji in Reading. Now, I don't really have the time nor do I care to make it. I don't necessarily care for the co-affiliation with Montreal now either.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Nailers on Wed Apr 27, 2011 3:46 pm

Playoff attendance in the ECHL is a LEAGUE WIDE issue, not just in Wheeling. Greenville, which is a much bigger market than Wheeling only had 2400 in their building last night. Playoff attendance is always affected because the playoff tickets are not included in the season ticket packages. Therefore, teams lose a lot of the corporate season ticket holders for the playoffs.

**11 out of the 16 playoff teams are averaging less than 3,000/game**
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby jimjom on Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:34 am

Nailers wrote:Playoff attendance in the ECHL is a LEAGUE WIDE issue, not just in Wheeling. Greenville, which is a much bigger market than Wheeling only had 2400 in their building last night. Playoff attendance is always affected because the playoff tickets are not included in the season ticket packages. Therefore, teams lose a lot of the corporate season ticket holders for the playoffs.

**11 out of the 16 playoff teams are averaging less than 3,000/game**


Do you see this as reflective of the economy? What were the attendance figures before 2008?

Also what's with the lone ranger guy. Is he still performing at games?
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Nailers on Thu Apr 28, 2011 11:57 am

It could be reflective on the economy, but I always remember the playoff attendance being significantly lower than the regular season attendance. The Nailers drew very well the 2nd half of the season, especially on Saturday nights. I think the last 4-5 Saturday games all had over 4200 fans/game.

The Lone Ranger no longer goes to the games...not sure what happened there.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby PenguinSteve-o on Wed May 04, 2011 4:15 pm

I actually went to the game on April 23rd. Bought tickets before the game sat close to the benches. I try to go to 2-3 a year. Its cheap enough overall to go when there isnt much else going on some weekend.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby PensFinsFan on Thu May 05, 2011 9:45 pm

I'm from the Wheeling are and I'd hate to see it leave. It's a good time for not a ton of money.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Nailers on Fri May 06, 2011 11:10 am

The Nailers game on Saturday, May 8th will be televised nationally through America One Broadcasting @ 7:30 PM. Someone told me that the game can be found on Ch. 188 in the Pittsburgh area.

Wheeling leads the best of 7 series 2-1 over the Kalamazoo Wings in the Eastern Conference Finals.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby cbuspensfan on Fri May 06, 2011 3:58 pm

Ah that's right vokoun did play for wheeling.. I used to see him when they came to huntington
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby pensfan86 on Sat May 07, 2011 6:39 pm

No hockey is not dead in Wheeling. I had season tickets for the first 6 years. Yes the crowds went from filling the place (sold out standing room only) to not even being able to fill the lower level. The crowd went down hill when they changed their name. However they are starting to come back. I myself am dusting off the old thunderbirds jersey for the playoff game tonite.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby DudeMan2766 on Sun May 08, 2011 3:29 pm

Nailers wrote:It could be reflective on the economy, but I always remember the playoff attendance being significantly lower than the regular season attendance. The Nailers drew very well the 2nd half of the season, especially on Saturday nights. I think the last 4-5 Saturday games all had over 4200 fans/game.

The Lone Ranger no longer goes to the games...not sure what happened there.


Story about the Lone Ranger. Years and years ago I worked at Rite Aid. He comes in (unfortunately not in his get up) and buys cigars. Im standing with my manager in front of the counter, and we are busy as hell. He buys the cigars, walks over to my manager and starts screaming at him asking why cigars there were $1 more expensive than at CVS. He says "I can go to CVS and get my cigars cheaper!" He crumbles up the receipt and throws it at my manager. My mgr looked at him, looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and just said "well if you know they're cheaper, why didnt you go there and get them?" And the guy stormed out.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Pensfan2010 on Sun May 08, 2011 7:03 pm

pensfan86 wrote:No hockey is not dead in Wheeling. I had season tickets for the first 6 years. Yes the crowds went from filling the place (sold out standing room only) to not even being able to fill the lower level. The crowd went down hill when they changed their name. However they are starting to come back. I myself am dusting off the old thunderbirds jersey for the playoff game tonite.

Oh man, what I would give for a old t-birds jersey. I used to have one when I was little (5-6 y.o), that was autographed by Vadim Slivchenko. Brings back some good memories
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby JS© on Wed Jun 01, 2011 2:37 pm

Nailers wrote:Playoff attendance in the ECHL is a LEAGUE WIDE issue, not just in Wheeling. Greenville, which is a much bigger market than Wheeling only had 2400 in their building last night. Playoff attendance is always affected because the playoff tickets are not included in the season ticket packages. Therefore, teams lose a lot of the corporate season ticket holders for the playoffs.

**11 out of the 16 playoff teams are averaging less than 3,000/game**


Good thing Johnstown had to move. Looks kinda **** on Neil Smith's part when they are drawing similar crowds in a much bigger market.

And I'm not sure you could give Wheeling credit for developing Letestu. Wasn't he there for a handful of games before being recalled to the AHL?
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby DocEmrick on Wed Jun 08, 2011 9:20 am

I played at that arena when I was about 8 years old, and compared it to the War Memorial in Johnstown. If it's in that bad of condition now, you can bet people would be turned away. It's funny cause Wheeling was actually an okay hockey town, at least surprising for a small hick town in WV. I'd attribute the drop-off to either a.) people not wanting to waste money on ECHL tickets, or b.) drop in interest in general.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby the errey i breathe on Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:52 pm

Some friends and I went to a couple nailers games and had a blast every time. My favorite was in between periods throwing pucks onto the ice to win a free pizza. I almost won one once.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby jimjom on Fri Jul 01, 2011 9:21 pm

They moved the steak fry from 7/9 to 10/1.
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Re: Is hockey dead in Wheeling?

Postby Bathgate on Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:34 pm

The Trenton Devils folded last week. Trenton is actually a northern suburb of Philly. The Flyers supply players to Wheeling. Now the Flyers are talking about moving their ECHL players to Trenton if someone puts a team there, but they (the Flyers) don't want to own it. Might this lead to transfer of the Nailers franchise to Trenton?

You would think that the Flyers would actually want to establish their AHL farm team in Trenton. The Philly Phantoms transfer to Glens Falls, NY was supposed to be temporary pending completion of a new arena in Allentown, PA, but that keeps being delayed.
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