WHEELING - The Wheeling Nailers announced Friday they have signed defenseman Zach Hansen to a one-year ECHL contract.
''Zach is a smart player who brings lots of speed and energy to our lineup,'' coach Clark Donatelli said. ''He is very adept in pushing the play, which fits our team's style, and he plays with an edge in the defensive end of the ice.''
Hansen, 24, returns to the Nailers for his second full season of professional hockey, after finishing second on the team with 68 games played during the 2011-12 campaign. At the end of the 2010-11 season, Hansen joined the Nailers, appearing in six regular-season games, as well as three postseason contests, helping him to earn a spot on the following season's roster. This past season, Hansen produced two goals, 22 assists and 24 points, which placed him second in scoring among Wheeling defensemen.
Prior to turning pro, Hansen played one season of junior hockey with the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede, on his way to attending Quinnipiac University, where he majored in Business Marketing and Entrepreneurship, while also playing hockey for four years. During his time with the Bobcats, the White Bear Lake, Minn., native amassed 14 goals, 53 assists for 67 points in 146 games.
''I am excited for the opportunity to come back to Wheeling,'' Hansen said. ''It's also exciting to hear that a good group of last year's guys will be coming back, as well.
''Nailers fans should be excited for another memorable year.''
The Nailers will begin the regular season Oct. 13 in Cincinnati, in the first of four straight road games, before playing their home opener Oct. 26 against the Reading Royals.