ECHL: Wheeling Nailers Re-Sign 2023-24 Unsung Hero Award Winner

Koopman tosses a young fan a puck after eliminating the Indy Fuel in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
Photo by Stacey Gramlich | Inside The Rink

The Wheeling Nailers have made their first signing for the 2024-25 season. The 2023-24 Unsung Hero Award Winner, Matt Koopman, will be returning to the Nailers for his third season. Koopman played a big role in this Nailers lineup during the 2023-24 season. Koopman tallied 16 goals and 18 assists for 34 points in the regular season, with two of his points coming on the powerplay with one goal and one assist and six coming on the penalty kill with three goals and three assists. His three shorthanded goals were good enough to put him in the top 10 of ECHL forwards, tying him with five other players. The Marblehead, MA native was also tied for first among ECHL forwards for shorthanded assists with three other players. During the 2024 Kelly Cup Playoffs, Koopman added eight points to his stat sheet with four goals and four assists in nine playoff games. Koopman again showed how much of a threat he can be on the penalty kill, tallying two shorthanded goals in the postseason, which was tied for first among all players in the postseason. Being the only player on the Nailers’ roster to play all 71 regular season games and all nine playoff games, Koopman was awarded with the Nailers’ 2023-24 Unsung Hero Award for doing so.

Prior to his ECHL career, the 26-year-old played his college hockey as an undergrad at Providence College. Koopman played 113 games with the Friars, notching 15 goals and 17 assists for 32 points and a +7 goal differential. After his senior year, Koopman transferred to the University of Massachusetts to play his graduate year. In 35 games there, Koopman tallied five goals and four assists in 35 games.

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Zachary Alvarado

Inside The Rink journalist covering the Wheeling Nailers and Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL. I am a Duquesne University Sports Information and Media major graduating in December. I have been passionate about hockey since I was 4 years old.

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