The South Carolina Stingrays, proud National Hockey League affiliate of the Washington Capitals and American Hockey League affiliate of the Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with forward Patrick Gaul, Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Ryan Warsofsky announced Wednesday.
Gaul is the longest-tenured member of the Rays and the 2017-18 season will be his sixth professional year, all of which include time in South Carolina. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native returns to the Lowcountry after posting career-highs in assists and points during the regular season while serving as an alternate captain for the third consecutive year. In 67 regular season games, Gaul notched 37 points on 11 goals and 26 assists before adding four points in 11 postseason contests.
“We’re very excited to bring Patrick back,” Warsofsky said. “He’s coming off a career year statistically, but he also brings so much more to our team like leadership and penalty killing. He’s a workhorse and really sets the tone of how we want to play.”
In 277 career games with South Carolina, Gaul has registered 124 points (46 goals, 78 assists) to go along with a +52 rating. Additionally, the fan-favorite has played a key role on South Carolina's penalty kill which has finished first in the ECHL during 2014-15 and 2015-16 and first in the Eastern Conference in 2016-17.
“If I’m going to play in the ECHL I’m not going anywhere, I’m staying in South Carolina,” Gaul said. “I’m excited to be back for another year. I feel like last year was another year we were close but just need a little more to get over that last hurdle. Hopefully, this year will be the year.”
Gaul, 27, who played his collegiate hockey at Notre Dame from 2008-12, is also very active in the Lowcountry community and was previously the winner of the 2015 Jerry Zucker Community Service Award.
He joins forwards Johnny McInnis, Trevor Gillies and Patrick Megannety as the four skaters who have been signed by the Stingrays for the 2017-18 season. More player signings are expected to be announced in the coming days.
“If you look at the teams that have had success here in the past, even prior to my being here, you see a lot of the same guys coming back year after year,” Gaul said. When the leadership stays the same that’s when you start to develop chemistry and build a tighter bond as a team. Hopefully this year we can start off a little better than we did last year and be firing right out of the gate.”
South Carolina opens its 25th anniversary season in 100 days on Oct. 20 in front of their home fans at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m.
-per South Carolina Stingrays