Stingrays open 20th season

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Stingrays open their 2Oth season tonight as they play host to the Gwinnett Gladiators in ECHL action at the North Charleston Coliseum. This is the first of 14 tilts with the Gladiators in the 2012-13 season. The ‘Rays will skate as an affiliate of the Boston Bruins of the National Hockey League. Previously South Carolina had been affiliated with the Washington Capitals over the past six seasons.
Over the course of their twenty years in the ECHL the ‘Rays have made the playoffs in all but one season and have captured three Kelly Cups symbolic of ECHL supremacy. They will once again play in the South Division of the Eastern Conference. A new franchise in Orlando Florida, the Solar Bears, join the ‘Rays, Gladiators, Florida Ever Blades and the Greenville Road Warriors in the division. Florida is the defending Kelly Cup Champion.
Stability has been a key to the ‘Rays’ success. The ’Rays have enjoyed long-time strong local ownership and an excellent relationship throughout the community. The Zucker family has been a boon to both the ECHL franchise but as importantly has been a driving force in local minor hockey. They have been in ownership since 1994. They also were responsible for developing and opening the Carolina Ice Palace, the great local ice facility in the area that hosts a myriad of local play.
 
They have kept the family atmosphere in the organization as most of the team’s coaches spent time as players in the organization prior to moving behind the bench. For example the Rays’ are led by returning head coach Spencer Carbery, who returns after posting a 37-4-3 record and making the playoffs in his first season. Carbery was a player during the 2008-09 campaign which featured the capture of the ECHL-record third Kelly Cup championship.
 
The weekend festivities celebrating the 20th anniversary also features a Stingrays Alumni Game with players returning from all 19 season of Stingrays hockey to skate in the exhibition game. Returnees skating in the alumni game include favorites Brett Marietti, Dave Seitz, current General Manager Rob Concannon, Kirk Daubenspeck, Matt Scherer and the ‘Rays’ all-time leader on penalty minutes Nate Kiser. Icing alumni teams is not a large problem as the attractiveness of Charleston has made the area a post hockey haven for former players.
Contact the author at Phil.Brand@prohockeynews.com

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