Six weeks after renewing their affiliation with the AHL Hershey Bears the Capitals have announced they are getting back together with the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.
Based in North Charleston, the Stingrays most recently were the ECHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins. They served as an affiliate of the Capitals from 2004-12, when goaltenders Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer began their pro careers.
Grubauer was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team in 2011-12, and Holtby represented the Stingrays at the 2009-10 ECHL All-Star Game.
“We are pleased to announce our ECHL affiliation with the South Carolina Stingrays,” Caps GM Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “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 last two seasons.”
The Capitals were in search of an ECHL affiliate after the Reading Royals entered an agreement with the Philadelphia Flyers last month.
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“We are excited to be back with Washington and the Hershey Bears (AHL) for the upcoming season,” said Stingrays President Rob 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.”
South Carolina 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). Spencer Carbery, the Stingrays’ head coach and director of hockey operations, was named the recipient of the 2014 John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year. South Carolina has reached the ECHL playoffs in seven consecutive seasons and was previously affiliated with the Capitals for eight seasons from 2004-12 and with Washington’s AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears, from 2005-12. The Stingrays won the Kelly Cup in 2009, the same year Hershey won the AHL’s Calder Cup.
Nine players who skated for the Capitals last season have played in the ECHL.
South Carolina is entering its 22nd season in the ECHL. The Stingrays were affiliated with the Boston Bruins for two seasons from 2012-14. South Carolina plays its home games at the North Charleston Coliseum, which holds a capacity of 10,349.