WHEELING - The Wheeling Nailers have announced their third player signing of the 2013 offseason, which turns out to be their first returning player from last season, as forward Chris Rooney is back in the mix.
"Chris is a feisty forward who will bring lots of energy to our team," Coach Clark Donatelli said. "Coming in to play those three games last year, he made a big impression on the staff, and showed that he can definitely play in this league."
Rooney, 24, made his ECHL debut with the Nailers on March 27, and proceeded to play in the final three games of the 2012-13 regular season. Despite only spending one week in the Ohio Valley, Chris quickly gained the attention of the fans, as he appeared on the scoresheet in all three contests. In his first game, the 5-foot-9 forward dished out an assist, as Wheeling trumped Elmira, 6-2. Then, in his second and third games, he showed a physical aspect of his game, dropping the gloves three times - twice with Toledo's Cody Lampl and once with Trenton's Bryan Haczyk.
Prior to turning pro, Rooney attended Providence College for four years, where he majored in Business Management. On the ice with the Friars, he appeared in 97 games, scoring seven goals, 26 assists, and 33 points. During his junior season, he was named to the 2012 Hockey East All-Academic Team.
The Canton, Mass., native comes from a hockey background, as his father Steve (also a Providence College graduate) appeared in 154 NHL games with the Montreal Canadiens, Winnipeg Jets, and New Jersey Devils, taking home a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1986. Chris' older brother Joe also enjoyed a brief stint in professional hockey, splitting the 2007-08 campaign with the Lowell and Trenton Devils.
The Nailers will take the ice to start the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, when they play host to the Elmira Jackals at WesBanco Arena.