The South Carolina Stingrays, celebrating 22 seasons of hockey in the ECHL, entered an affiliation agreement with the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League (NHL) Stingrays President Rob Concannon and Capitals Senior Vice President and General Manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
“We are excited to be back with Washington and the Hershey Bears (AHL) for the upcoming season,” said Concannon. “We are extremely happy with our meetings with Washington and Mr. MacLellan and the direction all three teams are heading. We look forward to working with and developing their young prospects.”
“We are pleased to announce our ECHL affiliation with the South Carolina Stingrays,” MacLellan said. “The Stingrays are a great organization and they were terrific partners with us during our previous affiliation. We are looking forward to our prospects being able to grow and develop with a first-class organization. We would like to thank the Reading Royals and their fans for their support during the past two seasons.”
Nine players who skated for the Capitals last season have played in the ECHL, including former Stingrays goaltendersPhilipp Grubauer and Branden Holtby. Grubauer was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team while playing for South Carolina in 2011-12, and Holtby represented the Stingrays at the 2009-10 ECHL All-Star Game.
The Stingrays finished the 2013-14 season ranked third in the Eastern Conference and captured the South Division title with a record of 43-23-6 (92 points). Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Spencer Carbery was named the recipient of the 2014 John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year. The Capitals wrapped up the 2013-14 season with a record of 38-30-14. Last night, star forward Alex Ovechkin won the Maurice Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer during the 2014 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Stingrays reached the ECHL playoffs in seven consecutive seasons and was previously affiliated with the Capitals for eight seasons from 2004-12. The Stingrays won the Kelly Cup in 2009, the same year Washington’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, won the AHL’s Calder Cup.