WHEELING - The Wheeling Nailers announced Thursday they have hired Zach Sonnefeld as an assistant coach. He joins the Nailers after serving as the head coach at West Virginia University from 2010-12. Sonnefeld made an immediate impact behind the Mountaineers bench, as he led them to 19 victories during the 2010-11 season, earning himself CHMA Coach of the Year Honors. One year later, WVU posted a 26-victory campaign, advancing to the Division 1 ACHA National Tournament's second round.
''I'd like to thank Don Rigby, Tim Roberts, Clark Donatelli, and the Pittsburgh Penguins for giving me the opportunity to join this great organization,'' Sonnefeld said. ''I look forward to working with Clark to develop players and put a championship-caliber team on the ice''.
The state of West Virginia has always been home for Sonnefeld, as he was born and raised in Wheeling. He began his hockey path in the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association (WAHA), before attending Wheeling Park High School, and ultimately playing junior hockey for the Pittsburgh Junior Penguins. He then went on to return to Wheeling Park, where he coached the school to two West Virginia State Championships. Sonnefeld also coached the Wheeling Amateur Nailers.
''As a local product, I've watched the organization develop for many years, and I'm honored to now be a part of carrying on the tradition of professional hockey in the Ohio Valley,'' Sonnefeld said.
Sonnefeld, who assisted Clark Donatelli for a few weeks during the WVU school breaks, will assume his role, working aside Donatelli, when the Nailers begin their preseason schedule Oct. 5 at Cincinnati, before making his regular season debut as the team's assistant coach on October 13th, again at Cincinnati.
''Zach is very passionate about the game of hockey,'' Doantelli said. ''I am very excited to bring him aboard our staff.''
Chupp, Manderson Sign in WBS
The AHL's Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have signed three players to contracts for the upcoming season. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton inked forwards Cody Chupp, Denver Manderson, and Scott Zurevinski.
Chupp, 27, will be entering his third full season of professional hockey, after having played for the Texas Stars, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, and Wheeling Nailers. This past season, Chupp split time between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Wheeling, registering one goal and five points in 15 games with the Penguins, while posting 17 goals and 34 points in 43 games with the Nailers.
Manderson, 23, will be entering his second season of professional hockey in North America, after spending the entire 2011-12 campaign with the Nailers. Manderson recorded 18 goals, 22 assists, and 40 points in 52 games with Wheeling.
Zurevinski, 24, will be entering his first full season of professional hockey, after playing the final eight games of the 2011-12 campaign with the AHL's St. John's IceCaps. This past summer, Zurevinski attended the Pittsburgh Penguins Prospect Camp.