After a trademark dispute with the junior league Seattle Thunderbirds, the club became the Nailers for the 1996-97 season when the franchise held a contest open to local fans, which was won by C.J. Wickham of Steubenville, Ohio. The name "Nailers" was chosen for the city's long history of nail manufacturing. The team colors are black, red, and Vegas gold.
While they were still the Wheeling Thunderbirds, members of the team in 1994-95 also participated in the filming of the Jean-Claude Van Damme movie "Sudden Death". Because of the NHL lockout, the scene where Van Damme's character attempts to stop a bomber from bombing Mellon Arena during Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals was filmed with players from the Chiefs and Thunderbirds.