by Bombers Staff

The Long Beach Bombers are proud to announce the signing and return of forward, Joseph Wheeler. The 6’2, 190lb right shot center hails from High River, Alberta. Last season, Wheeler started the season with the now-defunct Arizona Hawks, before joining the Bombers. Wheeler was born September 3, 1999.

Wheeler played 37 games in Long Beach, recording a stat line of 3G-2A-5Pts-17PIMs while playing in a depth role. At the WSHL’s February trade deadline, he was involved in an eight player trade, that landed him in Valencia, with the rival Flyers. The Bombers acquired four age-out veteran players: Spencer Kozlowski, Matthew Reyes, Melwin Thorsson, & Lukas Moravsky. Wheeler played 12 games with Valencia, two of which were in the Western Division Quarterfinals. In total, Wheeler finished his rookie season with 52GP-3G-5A-8Pts-24PIMs.

Long Beach Bombers Head Coach & General Manager, Chris White, commented, “Wheels is a great teammate and young man. Last year, he had the typical adjustment-to-junior-hockey year, and handled it with professionalism, poise, and integrity. His development was being stunted by his game play time, and we had some discussions about a resolution. The opportunity arose, to get him some more ice time, and an increased role, as we attempted to add veteran players at the deadline. So, we moved him with the intention of re-signing him in 2018-2019. We’re glad to have him back, and expecting more from him in his second season. Wheels has good size, and has been working extremely hard this off-season to put himself in the best possible position to have a breakout year. We won’t have many veteran returners, so we’ll be counting on him both on and off the ice."

Joseph’s Player Profile Page:

Q & A with Joseph Wheeler:

Last season, you spent time with three different WSHL teams (Arizona Hawks, Long Beach Bombers, and Valencia Flyers). Obviously, you have elected to come back to Long Beach. What were some of the reasons that led to your decision?

Long Beach is driven by success, and the Bombers go into every game with the mindset that they can win. That wasn’t present on the other two teams I played for, and with the personnel the bombers have brought in this season I believe we can have a very successful year.

You successfully completed a rookie season, and head into your second campaign in 2018-2019. What did you learn in year one, that will help you elevate your game in year two?

I learned that you need to take advantage of opportunities that are given to you. Even if it’s just a simple task for one shift, you need to do your job or someone will be doing it instead of you.

You've stayed very active, this off-season, when it comes to hockey. What parts of your game have you been focused on, to help you have a successful season?

I’ve focused on my confidence with the puck, and making sure that I make the best decision every time the puck touches my tape. I’ve also been focusing on playing on the d-side of the puck.

The Long Beach Bombers have racked up the most wins in the WSHL, the past three years, for teams currently in the league (Idaho formerly held that honor). What do you think is the next step, to turn regular season and division playoff success into a Thorne Cup Championship?

Every player has to share the goal of winning the Throne Cup. We are here to play hockey, and sometimes players are focused on others things. We need to have the mentality that we are here to win the championship, and we can’t be happy with anything less.

What were some of your best memories from a year ago, in Long Beach, both on and off the ice?

I loved to watch NHL hockey at the Staples Center, and the days off at Huntington Beach. The best memory I had on the ice is when I scored my first junior goal, and got the chance to wear the hard hat after the game.