The South Carolina Stingrays are a member of the ECHL. (Essentially the ‘AA’ league of professional hockey.) The Stingrays have been playing for twenty two seasons of hockey, and they’ve had an ‘on-again, off-again’ relationship with the Bruins organization. Today it was announced that the Stingrays have renewed the affiliation agreement with the Boston Bruins and Providence Bruins. The 2014-15 season marks the third consecutive campaign the Stingrays have served as the ECHL affiliate of the Bruins. Stingrays President Rob Concannon and Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Spencer Carbery made the announcement earlier today.
Last season, the Boston Bruins took several key injuries to their team, especially on the blue line. Those injuries required the Boston organization to dig deep into Providence’s roster to make up for the shortfall. Those injuries even gave Kevan Miller his shot to move from the AHL to the NHL full-time. While the B-Bruins were digging into the P-Bruins, the Providence organization had to turn to the Stingrays to bolster their own squad.
The Stingrays are in a slightly unusual relationship with their AHL and NHL affiliates. This ECHL team has dual affiliation at both levels of hockey. At the AHL level, South Carolina is not only linked with the Providence Bruins but also the Hershey Bears. At the NHL level, their affiliation is with the Boston Bruins and the Washington Capitals. While it seems odd to me, the relationship has happened in the past, and it seems to work for all five organizations. (The Stingrays had also been under dual affiliation back in the 1994-95 season when they were linked with the Vancouver Canucks and the Buffalo Sabres.)
The Stingrays finished the 2013-14 season third in the ECHL’s Eastern Conference and were able to win the South Division title. They finished with a record of 43-23-6 (92 points).
“It has been a great relationship,” mentioned Carbery (who won the John Brophy Award as ECHL Coach of the Year last season) in a statement released at the time of the announcement. “We have a lot of respect for the way they do things in Providence and Boston. We are happy to be back on board and excited about the future with them.”