WHEELING - The Wheeling Nailers have announced their schedule for the 2013 preseason. The Nailers will play four exhibition games in the fall, with two of the four tilts taking place at WesBanco Arena.
The 2013 preseason will begin in similar fashion to the 2013-14 regular season, as the Nailers will play host to the Elmira Jackals. That game will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, as the two Atlantic Division rivals will give fans an appetizer to what will surely be a fulfilling and emotional 15-game season series. This will serve as the first preseason contest between Wheeling and Elmira, who have met 57 times in the six seasons since the Jackals joined the ECHL. Elmira currently holds the all-time lead, 35-22, but the Nailers have a 14-13 edge at home.
Wheeling's second home preseason game will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct 9, when they welcome a significantly less familiar foe WesBanco Arena. That opponent is the North Division's Fort Wayne Komets, whom the Nailers defeated in both of their head-to-head meetings during the 2012-13 campaign.
Longevity will be the theme for this battle, as Wheeling enters its league-leading 22nd season in the ECHL, while Fort Wayne enters its 62nd season of existence. Prior to joining the ECHL, the Komets were members of the International Hockey League (2), Continental Hockey League, Colonial Hockey League, United Hockey League, and Central Hockey League.
Two nights later, the Nailers will embark on their first road action of the preseason, when they visit the Reading Royals at 7:05 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11. Similar to Elmira, the Royals are a team that Wheeling and its fans are quite familiar with. In fact, the Nailers have played more games (116 regular season, 12 playoff) against Reading than they have against any other active team in the ECHL. Last season, the two Atlantic Division foes split their 12-game season series, before the Royals ultimately went on to win their first Kelly Cup in team history. Following the preseason clash, Wheeling and Reading will meet up 15 times this season.
Finally, Wheeling's preseason docket concludes at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12, when the Nailers make their second visit to the 13,000-seat Allen County War Memorial Coliseum for a rematch against the Fort Wayne Komets.
Those four preseason games will lead the Nailers into the start of their 22nd season, which begins on Friday, Oct. 18 at home against the Elmira Jackals.