Valley embraces Nailers in time of uncertainty

ONE POSITIVE aspect has come out of the Wheeling Nailers’ state of flux.

The Brooks brothers put the sale of the ECHL franchise up for sale some two weeks ago. That is common knowledge.

The move by the current owners to divest themselves of the team has spawned an outpouring of appreciation and support for the Nailers. While the Wheeling-based icemen are not the greatest draw at the box office, the fear of losing them has triggered a tidal wave of concern and passion throughout the Ohio Valley.

Minor league hockey, be it the current Nailers or the original Thunderbirds, has skated its niche into the fabric of the area. The valley does not want to lose something that they feel belongs to them. The Nailers are such a possession.

It’s nice to say the Ohio Valley houses a professional sports team. Losing the team would be a signal that Wheeling is not a big-time city.

With that said, I cannot imagine a local buyer will not skate forward and reach a deal to keep the Nailers in WesBanco Arena. Reportedly, some five potential purchasers have expressed interest, three with local roots.

Greater Wheeling Sports and Entertainment Authority Executive Director Denny Magruder is a shaker and mover. He has helped broker a rental deal between WesBanco and the Nailers which is quite cushy for the franchise.

I imagine Magruder is leading the charge in sealing the deal with new local ownership.

When such a deal comes to fruition, hopefully the renewed support for the Nailers doesn’t melt away.


THE MARTINS Ferry Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual 9-Pin No Tap Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Park Legion Lanes. The first shift starts at 10 a.m., the second at 12:30 p.m. and the third shift at 3 p.m. There is a limit of eight teams per shift.

There will be two divisions: League – a team with two more league bowlers; and non-league – a team with one or no league bowlers.

Cost to bowl is $20 per person/$80 per four man team. This includes three games of bowling and a baked steak dinner. Lane sponsorships are also available for $50.

Individual dinners are available for non-bowlers for $8 for adults and $4 for children 10 and under. Reservations must be made by Feb. 16. The first teams in will get their pick of shift to bowl. Bowlers in the 3 p.m. shift are asked to come early in order to eat before they bowl.

The winning team in each division will receive $100. Call the chamber at (740) 633-2565 for more information or to register your team.


DALE BROOMHALL is the new head football coach at Buckeye Trail. He was hired at last week’s board of education meeting. Former Trail head coach Randy Thompson will be the Warriors’ defensive coordinator. Trail will be facing a beefed up grid schedule this coming fall as Shadyside and Ridgewood have been added to the Warriors’ grid card.

THE BELLAIRE Area Chamber of Commerce is seeking new members for 2012.

Members will be featured in the 2012 Bellaire Area Chamber of Commerce Resource Guide. Members may also put an ad in the Resource Guide at an additional cost. Chamber membership applications and ads for the Resource Guide must be received by Jan. 31. If you need a membership application or a Resource Guide Advertisement Form contact the chamber office. 2012 chamber members will also receive a free listing on the website. Shale Directories is used by the oil and gas industry to locate local businesses where they can purchase the items they need. You must be a 2012 chamber member to have your business listed in the Resource Guide and on Contact the chamber office by phone 740-676-9723 or email for more information.

THE INDY Colts are pondering either cutting or trading Peyton Manning. Are they goofy? You don’t rid your franchise of a legend. The Colts need to keep Manning in blue and white for the length for his career, which is rapidly coming to a close as he is 36 with physical issues. There is room for an aging Manning and Andrew Luck on the same team.

IT WAS good to see that Judge Arthur Recht cleared the way for the construction of a sports complex in East Wheeling. City officials will now use eminent domain to acquire three properties on 15th Street. It will enhance a dilapidated part of the city by providing a multi-faceted recreational park while eliminating vacant and dilapidated properties.

BELLAIRE HIGH product Joey Galloway is getting more face time on ESPN. The former Ohio State and NFL great is becoming a frequent on-camera contributor on the popular College Football Live, shown each weekday afternoon. He cut his television-journalistic teeth on ESPNU.

THE BELMONT County Veterans Service Commission is currently seeking input from veterans as part of a grant application to get a handicap accessible van.

The van will make it possible for the veterans service office to provide veterans who are unable to get on the regular vans for special transportation.

The Belmont County Veterans Service Office is seeking the funding through the Ohio Department of Transportation to purchase the van and have the lift installed onto it, but must first determine if there is sufficient need. The service commission accepted the donation of a handicap lift which can be installed in the back of van. Anyone who would like to express their need for the van can contact the Belmont County Veterans Service Office at 740-325-1042 or 1-877-316-0385.

BISHOP HARTLEY’S Jacob Matuska is becoming a hot commodity on the collegiate football recruiting front. The 6 ft. 5, 240-pound tight end-linebacker received two more offers this week, those coming from Oklahoma and North Carolina State. Matuska is the son of Jim and Beth (Bierkortte), both St. John Central graduates. Jacob help the Hawks to the 2010 Division IV state grid title and also played a key role in Hartley reaching the state basketball tourney last winter. Jacob has also attracted much interest from Ohio State and Notre Dame.

THE PREP basketball season is beginning to wind down.

On Tuesday, the OVAC Basketball Committee meets to finalize the girls’ championship tourney on Feb. 11 while a week from today the girls’ sectional drawings are being held around the Buckeye State.

The boys’ sectional drawing will be conducted a week later.

Kapral may be reached at