NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with forward Cole Ully for the 2020-21 season.
Ully, 25, is preparing for his sixth professional season after playing in 53 games with South Carolina in 2019-20 while on an AHL contract with the Hershey Bears. The Calgary, Alberta native racked up 48 points on 12 goals and 36 assists, which was tied for third-most on the team. Ully’s assist total was also tied for the team lead, while his +21 rating was fourth-best among all SC skaters.
"Cole will be a huge part of our team this year, said Stingrays head coach Ryan Blair. “He was a great fit for our group last season, and we know we’ll see more of the same this year. Cole is very well liked by his teammates and always keeps the group smiling and having fun. His skill and compete level paired with his positive attitude will have a big impact on our team. We can’t wait to welcome him back.”
Originally a draft pick of the Dallas Stars in the 5th round of the 2013 NHL Draft, Ully has 123 games of AHL experience in his career, with 121 of those contests coming with the Texas Stars during parts of four seasons from 2015-18. During 2016-17, Ully produced 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) in 61 games with the Stars.
“Obviously our team felt like we had some unfinished business from last year being where we were in the standings when things ended,” Ully said. “I always had it in my mind that South Carolina would be great and especially with the way things are right now with COVID, I think a little bit of comfort can go a long way. I’m really excited to go back to the same team for a second year in a row, I haven’t done that in quite a few years. It looks like Coach Blair has signed a lot of really good players again so I’m excited to get there and go to work.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound attacker also split time with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles and the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies during the 2018-19 season. With Utah, Ully tallied 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 38 games. He was named a co-winner of the ECHL Player of the Month award in November 2018 and later that month was recalled by Colorado, skating in two contests.
When looking back on the success he and the Rays had last season, Ully thought the team’s coaching staff made a big impact.
“We had lots of skill, but I’ve played on skill teams before and I think our coaches did a great job of holding guys accountable,” Ully said. “A lot of times in the ECHL, especially when guys are coming down from the American League, they might be upset. But I think Bergy and Blair did a great job of holding guys accountable and holding everyone to the same standard of work ethic. I think everyone played a 200-foot game and when you add that on top of skill, that’s when you can get to a record like we had.”
Prior to turning pro, Ully played with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL), earning a spot on the league’s First All-Star Team in 2014-15 after collecting 94 points (34 goals, 60 assists) in 69 games. In total from 2011-15, Ully played 256 games with the Blazers, posting 237 points (95 goals, 142 assists).
“I took quite a bit of time off [during the offseason] because I figured December would probably be when we would start up,” Ully said. “I wasn’t going to start getting after it in May and then burn out, so I took a break and then when I was ready I got back to work. I think I timed it nicely and now I’m ready to go.”