Stingrays fire head coach Ryan Blair
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - In the midst of one of the worst seasons in franchise history, the Stingrays made a move on Monday morning firing head coach Ryan Blair as the team sits in last place in the entire ECHL.
Assistant coach Brenden Kotyk will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of the season while Ryan Bourque will take over as the interim assistant coach.
“It has been a very challenging season and it is time for a change,” Stingrays President Rob Concannon said in a statement. “We would like to thank Ryan for his hard work with the South Carolina Stingrays organization over the past three years and wish him nothing but the best.”
Blair was in the middle of his 3rd season with the organization. He was an assistant coach in 2019-20 and took over as the head coach before the 2020-21 season.
Last season Blair led the Rays to the Kelly Cup Finals after finishing in 4th place in the Eastern Conference during the regular season. The team upset top seed Florida and 2nd seed Greenville before falling to Fort Wayne in the championship series.
Kotyk, 30, began his coaching career as an assistant coach, joining the Stingrays organization last year after playing three years of professional hockey. The former defender spent the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons on the back end for the Toledo Walleye, appearing in 50 games during each campaign. The native of Regina, Saskatchewan began his pro career in 2017-18 with the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack and also spent time in the ECHL with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
Bourque, 31, will begin his professional coaching career with the Stingrays after completing a nine-year professional hockey career ending after the 2019-20 season. The former forward appeared in one game for the NHL’s New York Rangers and spent 585 games in the AHL with the Connecticut Whale, Hartford Wolf Pack, Hershey Bears, Bridgeport Sound Tigers, and Charlotte Checkers. Since retiring from professional hockey, Bourque has been involved in player and skill development in the Boston area.
The native of Topsfield, MA is the son of five-time Norris Trophy winner, Stanley Cup Champion, and Hall of Famer Ray Bourque.
Kotyk’s first game as head coach will be Friday when the Rays host Greenville.
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