The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with forward Andrew Cherniwchan (pronounced chern-itch-an) for the 2017-18 season. Cherniwchan has played 119 regular season games for the Rays in his career, spending time in South Carolina during parts of five seasons from 2011-2017.
"We’re excited to bring Cherny back," said Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Ryan Warsofsky. "He’s a player that battled injuries all year long last season. He plays extremely hard and really was a big part of our identity in the playoffs. I know he’s been working hard this summer and is looking to build off the playoffs he had."
Cherniwchan, 28, first joined the Stingrays towards the end of the 2011-12 season and has scored a total of 84 points on 37 goals and 47 assists in his ECHL career. He also has 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in 34 postseason appearances, including 16 points in 22 playoff games last year. Despite a shortened 2016-17 campaign due to injury, the Hinton, Alb. native had 29 points in 36 games on 11 goals and 18 assists.
During 2015-16, the 5-11, 181-pound forward played in 55 games for the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League (AHL), accounting for eight points (four goals, four assists). His time in the AHL has included 134 regular season games with Providence and the Springfield Falcons, scoring 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) as well as 15 postseason contests.
“With the way last year went, not being able to play the full season but going on that good run, I’m just excited to be back and get things going here,” Cherniwchan said. “It’s a great place. I’ve been here in the summer and it’s a place that I love playing and I’m happy to be in South Carolina.
Before turning pro, Cherniwchan played for Northern Michigan University in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) for four seasons from 2008-2012. During his collegiate career, he scored 84 points (35 goals, 49 assists) in 146 games. In 2009-10, he helped lead the Wildcats to an NCAA Tournament appearance and a fourth-place finish in the CCHA league standings. The forward also served as an assistant captain for NMU during his senior season.
Cherniwchan is the eighth returning skater from 2016-17 and the 11th forward signed to the roster, as well as the 18th player under contract for 2017-18. More player signings are expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks.
“We’ve got a great core group of guys that’ll be back,” said Cherniwchan. “Some years you have a lot of turnover and there’s a lot of adjusting to do at the start of the year, but going into this season it will be familiar for a lot of guys. We’re a tight knit group and I think it will be easy to welcome the new players as part of the team.”
The Stingrays open their 25th anniversary season at the North Charleston Coliseum on Oct. 20 against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 7:05 p.m.