Checking in from Norfolk

Hello Rays fans! It’s been a busy weekend in Norfolk and a big game is on tap tonight. Thanks for checking in for another blog.

Certainly last night’s game was no fun for anyone. The thing is, it happens, even to the best teams. It’s a 72 game season and you are going to have a night to forget now and then. The good thing is that the Rays get to turn around and play again this evening. Certainly the recent string of losses is something the Rays are working feverously to fix, but last night’s game was a total outlier as far as results this season. Take it as a learning lesson and move on. Sometimes it’s easier said than done from a fan perspective, but come playoff time, one ugly loss is going to be nothing more than a footnote.

I’ve got a bit of a shorter blog this week…but let’s get at it!

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Who is Ready to Pack The House?

Hello again Stingrays fans! Who is excited for a BIG weekend of action at the North Charleston Coliseum? The phones have been ringing non-stop in our offices this week for our annual South Carolina Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center Pack the House Night which is Saturday. It’s going to be quite the experience to hear 10,000 Stingrays fans roar as we host Greenville at 7:05 p.m. More info HERE.
With that said, we cannot overlook Friday’s contest with the Atlanta Gladiators. The Stingrays are winless in five games, and despite rallying for a point in a pair of home games versus Alaska last weekend, the Stingrays have failed to earn a victory since a 5-1 win at Adirondack on January 8. With that said, even with the all the excitement of Saturday on the docket, Friday’s game is huge to get the Rays going in the right direction. Atlanta is a tough team as evidenced by their 4-1 victory over the Rays last Friday in Georgia. As fun as the comebacks were last weekend, the Rays certainly know they cannot get in a big hole early in the game again.
Let’s get to some Rays news and notes in this week’s blog:

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..And We’re Back! New Blog Posts are Here!

Hello Stingrays fans! I hope 2016 is off to a great start for you and that you are ready for a big next few weeks of Stingrays Hockey!

Welcome back to our Catching Some Rays blog. It’s been far too long. I posted when I first joined the Stingrays, but among discussions with the staff and management as I took over for Joey Z, this was something that was decided to be put to the back-burner while I tackled the many other aspects of the position, including having just four weeks to get up to speed before our first game.

With that said, my feet are wet and I’m ready to get blogging! I’ll have a new blog post every week throughout the season for Stingrays fans featuring news, notes, my thoughts and more.

Let’s get started!

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Introduction from the new “Voice of the Stingrays”

Hello South Carolina Stingrays fans! My name is Zack Fisch and I am THRILLED to be the new “Voice of the Stingrays” and get a chance to be a member of an amazing organization. I wanted to take the time to make a blog post to introduce myself and share some news about this upcoming year.

First and foremost, I have to thank the one and only Joseph Zakrzewski for all of his help. “Joey Z” has been a great asset in getting me started during this transition. His move to the AHL was well deserved. I know he was loved in South Carolina, and I’ll do my best to fill his large shoes. No two broadcasters are alike, so I’ll be the first one to tell you I’m not Joey Z, but I will bring my own style and passion to the broadcast and that I cannot wait to call my first game on October 17. Most of all, Coach Carbery will need to find a new emergency goalie. I did play goalie growing up, but I haven’t strapped on the pads in years!

A brief background about me: I grew up in Kansas City and fell in love with hockey. I played growing up and followed the St. Louis Blues who were on TV there. I realized I wanted to be a hockey broadcaster at a young age and enrolled in a high school broadcasting program.

From there I went to St. Cloud State for college and broadcast Division-1 NCAA Hockey for the Huskies from 2008-2012 for KVSC Radio and Husky Productions TV. My experience landed me some awards and a gig out of school with the United States Hockey League (USHL) and the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints. I was the team’s Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for three seasons. I got to call an OT championship winning goal and a tournament in Russia, as well as become a well-rounded business professional. Dubuque gave me more than I could have ever imagined and will always have a special place in my heart, but this summer, I decided I wanted to advance my career in pro hockey.

Enter the South Carolina Stingrays. I could not have landed in a better spot than here in North Charleston. The Stingrays have a history of success on and off the ice and an amazing ownership group and staff. I have heard nothing but amazing things about the organization and the passion from the fans, both old and new, is apparent. The Charleston area is beautiful and while I have done a little sightseeing, I know I have just scratched the surface the attractions of the Lowcountry.

I look forward to meeting many of our fans and readers in the near future. I got a chance to visit the North Charleston Coliseum earlier this week, and I cannot wait to have it packed full of fans.

All of that said, here is some Stingrays news:

-Today we honor Mark Bavis, a former Stingray who passed away in the September 11, 2011 terrorist attacks. Mark played in South Carolina from 1994-1996 after a strong NCAA career at Boston University. He was a scout for the Los Angeles Kings and was aboard United Airlines flight 175. More information about Mark Bavis and the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation may be found here:

-The Stingrays made a pair of signings yesterday including forward Derek DeBlois. He is currently in Estero, Fla. (home of the ECHL’s Everblades) for the Washington Capitals Rookie Tournament which takes place Sept. 12-15.

-The other signing the Stingrays made was goalie Mark Dekanich. The veteran goalie has seven years of pro experience including a stint in the NHL with Nashville in 2010. According to this article in the Post & Courier, the Capitals organization wanted to bring in Dekanich as a mentor to 19-year-old goalie Vitek Vanecek, a 2014 2nd Round pick of the Capitals who will likely play in South Carolina this year.

-We’ll have more information on Promotional Nights soon, but I think we have some really great events in store. Stay tuned!

Thanks to everyone for reading and again, I’m thrilled to be here. I will try to post weekly on this blog and provide inside insight from the Stingrays. I only have one question for you fans…Is It October Yet?!?!

What is Next for the South Carolina Stingrays?

The 2015-16 season is officially upon us!

A little over a week has passed since we wrapped up the 2015 Kelly Cup Finals and the Stingrays office and coaching staff is in full flight towards the new campaign.

From a management perspective, this week is a gigantic step towards the new season with the annual ECHL Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over the next 48 hours, the ECHL’s Board of Governors, team presidents and general managers will discuss all changes and initiatives to the league ranging from new teams joining, rule changes, CBA changes, etc. Thursday and Friday will start the Sales, Marketing and Communications meetings where we will explore new sales, promotions and media and public relations campaigns to help grow the Stingrays and ECHL brand.

A special congratulations to Account Executive Kyle Huckabee, who is a finalist for the 2014-15 ECHL Ticket Executive of the Year award. The award will be handed out Thursday morning and we will have all the updates for you on Twitter at @SCStingrays and @JoeyZStingrays!

From the hockey standpoint, the next step towards building a roster for the 2015-16 season is issuing Qualifying Offers to eight players from the Season Ending Roster. Qualifying Offers will be handed out no later than July 1st and do not need to be presented to players who have already signed for the upcoming season. As of today, three players from the Kelly Cup Finals team pursued opportunities overseas. Defenseman Michal Cajkovsky is moving closer to his native Slovakia by agreeing to join the Czech league’s HC Sparta Praha. D-man Drew MacKenzie will be nearby as he skates for Dornbirner EC in Austria. Rookie blueliner Jake Suter, who dressed in a handful of games for the Stingrays towards the end of the regular season, has committed to a team in France alongside former Stingrays forward Luke Greiner.

As June transforms into July, here are some dates to look forward to in the hockey community:

June 23-24: ECHL Board of Governors, Presidents and General Managers Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada

June 25-26: ECHL Sales, Marketing and Communications Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada

June 24: NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada

June 26: First Round of the NHL Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida

June 27: Stingrays Annual Equipment and Merchandise Sale at the Coliseum

July 1: Deadline to submit ECHL Qualifying Offers

July 1: NHL Free Agency begins

July 2: Last day of Kelly Cup Finals game-worn jersey and puck auction

Do not miss a second of the action! 2015-16 Stingrays Ticket Plans are on sale NOW! Save money off of box receive office prices and great benefits like FREE parking, Buddy Passes, discounts off of merchandise, advanced ticket purchases to North Charleston Coliseum and Performing Arts Center events and more! Click here to see all the benefits and options!

Download the 2015-16 schedule! Opening Weekend is Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18 at the North Charleston Coliseum as the Stingrays take on the Reading Royals at 7:05 p.m. and 3:05 p.m. Download the Schedule

Become a “Fan” of the Stingrays on Facebook at and join the conversation on Twitter at Stingrays Hockey – Wanna Go?

The Second Period Belongs to the Stingrays

The Stingrays and Reading Royals have completed three games in their opening round playoff series with the Stingrays holding a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. As we look at Game 1, 2 and 3, the Stingrays have dominated the second period.

Trailing 1-0 heading into the second frame of Game 3 last night, the Stingrays lit the lamp three times to claim the lead. Down 3-0 in Game 2, the Stingrays responded two goals in the second period and in Game 1, the Rays opened the series scoring just 1:47 into middle stanza.

Through three contests, the Stingrays outscored the Royals 6-2 and lead in shots 32-14 in the second period alone.

The power play for the Stingrays has also provided an extra jump in the series, scoring two game-winning goals (Game 1 and Game 3). The man advantage currently stands fourth in the ECHL postseason operating at 21.4% (3 goals on 14 chances).

Game 4 between the two teams is tomorrow night at 7:00 at Santander Arena in Reading, PA. Game 5 is the following day, at 5:00, in the same spot. Watch all the action LIVE at Southside 17 at Tanger Outlets and listen live at!

If necessary, Game 6 and 7 will be a the North Charleston Coliseum on Tuesday, April 28 and Wednesday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m.

Stingrays Audio: We Have Arrived in Reading, PA and Ready for Game 3

We are safe and sound in Reading, PA and as I write this, the team is on the ice practicing for their Game 3 bout against the Reading Royals tomorrow night at 7:00. Sadly the Stingrays TV camera (used for all the YouTube interviews) did not have an enjoyable journey and does not want to cooperate this morning. However, I was able to track down Assistant Coach Ryan Warsofsky and defensemen Drew MacKenzie and Michal Cajkovsky before the squad took the ice. What is the biggest key from all three heading into Game 3? Simple: get off to a great start in the first period.

Warsofsky Audio

Cajkovsky Audio

MacKenzie Audio

Joey Z