Nailers captain Danny Fick signed with the Nottingham Panthers of the British Elite Ice Hockey League, the Panthers announced on Monday.
Fick, a defenseman, had been with the Nailers since 2015 and became the franchise's all-time games-played leader last season with 258 games, recording 16 career goals and 60 assists. He played in 26 playoff games for the Nailers, all during the team's 2016 run to the Kelly Cup Final.
When Fick was nearing the all-time games played milestone last season, I asked him what kept him coming back to Wheeling.
“I like the town, I like the organization,” he said. “Mainly, I just love hockey.”
Fick, 27, served as co-captain last season, and was an alternate captain in 2017-18. During his four seasons in Wheeling, he had only earned one recall to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, playing one game with the Penguins last season.
Fick was a reliable, shutdown defenseman during his four seasons in Wheeling and became a valuable veteran presence in the locker room in recent years. Young defensemen on the Nailers regularly spoke about being able to learn from Fick and his work ethic.
"It's awesome just to see what he does in his routine every single day," rookie defenseman Johnny Austin told me last season. "The kind of work ethic he brings is something where, obviously he's been in the league for a long time and he's done very well, so you kind of look to that as a rookie, you try to emulate what he does. His work ethic is probably one of the best I've seen out of anyone I've played with, just in terms of coming to the rink and giving it 100 percent every single time."
That work ethic is one of the reasons the Panthers targeted Fick this offseason.
"Danny's one of those guys that does everything right."
Director of Hockey Gui Doucet speaks to Panthers Radio, with @Xynomix, about latest signing Danny Fick 📻