One of the top defensemen for the Penn State Men’s Hockey team is headed to play at the professional level.
Kenny Johnson, a senior for the Nittany Lions, signed a contract with the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL earlier this week.
Congrats Kenny and good luck in West Virginia!!#WeAre #HockeyValley https://t.co/QyKuSSKhpV pic.twitter.com/BMJSDNvWI7
— Penn State Men’s Hockey (@PennStateMHKY) March 30, 2023
The Nailers, located in Wheeling, West Virginia, are a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, with the ECHL considered as the premier “AA” league in the United States. The ECHL is two tiers below the National Hockey League (NHL), with the American Hockey League (AHL) sitting in between.
Johnson was able to make an impression on Wheeling despite skating in only two games during Penn State’s 2022-23 campaign, where the Nittany Lions advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to No. 2 Michigan 2-1 in overtime to close the year.
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, had his top season on the ice during his junior season in 2021-22, where Johnson tallied a goal and four assists in 31 games played. Johnson played in just nine total games in his other three seasons combined.
As of Saturday afternoon, Wheeling is fifth in the ECHL’s Central Division standings with 57 points. The Nailers hold a 26-34-5 record with seven games remaining in the regular season.