Stingrays and Capitals End Affiliation after Eight Seasons

Earlier today, the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League announced an affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, ending an eight-year affiliation between the Capitals and Stingrays.

Click here to read the full press release from the Capitals.

“We would like to thank the South Carolina Stingrays and their fans for their support over the last eight seasons,” said Capitals General Manager George McPhee in the release.

The move was made strictly based on geography. Reading is just over an hour away from the Capitals’ AHL affiliate, the Hershey Bears and almost three hours away from Washington D.C.

“We weren’t surprised,” said Stingrays President Rob Concannon in a meeting with the media this afternoon. “We have been talking with them the past couple of months and we were prepared.”

Rob admitted during the meeting that he and Stingrays Head Coach/Director of Hockey Operations Spencer Carbery have been talking to 2-3 other NHL teams trying to work out an affiliation agreement.

Over the years, the Stingrays have had many Capitals-contracted players on their roster with goaltenders Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Sean Collins seeing action with the NHL club.

Holtby and Neuvirth were both ECHL All-Stars while with South Carolina.

Former Stingrays goaltender Braden Holtby makes a save during the 2010 ECHL All-Star Game in Ontario, California.

In addition to the Capitals, the Stingarys have been affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1993-94), Buffalo Sabres (1994-99, 2000-02) and Vancouver Canucks (1994-95).

On a personal note, I want to thank John Walton,  Scott Stuccio, Sergey Kocharov, Ben Guerrero and everyone with  Washington and Hershey for a great three seasons and I hope we can work together again soon.

Question of the Day: If you could pick a new NHL affiliate for the Stingrays, who would it be and why?

If you have questions or comments for future blogs, be sure to post them below or share them on Facebook or Twitter at and @SCStingrays and @JoeyZStingrays!


8 thoughts on “Stingrays and Capitals End Affiliation after Eight Seasons

  1. Carl J Clark says:

    Hmm…Anaheim. Short of Carolina breaking with Florida (unlikely due to shared ownership), that would give us the closest AHL team with Norfolk.

  2. Teri says:

    Boston…: )

  3. I’m kind of torn with the loss of the Caps as our partner. The goaltenders we have received over the past several years has been fantastic. We’ve seen some good D guys and Forwards but they usually got snatched up by Hershey, who has always been willing to sit 3-5 healthy scratches. I guess you can do that when you average over 10k in attendance year in and year out. No matter who we get as an affiliate we will have issues with call ups. It’s the nature of the beast in AA hockey. I can only hope that whoever out AHL partner turns out to be is a better team player than Hershey.
    Going independent has its advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages start with missing out on young drafted and signed talent from an NHL team. There also has to be an appeal to FAs to play in the farm system of a NHL club. The chance to get seen by NHL/AHL coaches and scouts (remember when Olzig came down a few years ago and spent some time with the goalies?), with the possibility of getting a chance to score a contract has to help an affiliated clubs chance of scoring top rated FAs. (Hello Mr Pope) And, I’ll need some help on this, who pays the salary of a NHL contracted player when they are with us? (or for that matter an AHL deal) Our market in Charleston has been shrinking as of late and that affects our ability to pay FAs. (within the salary cap of course) If salary is paid for or compensated from above by NHL/AHL contracted players that could be a huge loss on what money we have available to bring in FAs.
    The advantages of an independent are a bit murkier but as important. FAs can feel a bit more comfortable in their roles on a team if they know they are not in danger of getting released just because an affiliate sends some bodies down for rehab, ice time, etc… FAs have the ability to get picked up by any club, this is true whether we are affiliated or not. However, a team full of FAs will compete more against themselves to be at the top of the heap. A FA in an affiliated club knows that even if he is a little (or sometimes a lot) better than a NHL/AHL contracted player, the contracted player will get the call up so the parent organization can see them and evaluate them. That has to be a little disheartening. And we won’t have to deal with bad locker room players just because they are contracted and we can’t get rid of them. Granted we were able to deal Paquette away but I have a felling that if was a FA he would have been gone long before his trade out west.
    Being independent has mixed outcomes. LV and Alaska battled for the Western Crown this spring but Bakersfield finished 19th out of 20 teams.
    I think an affiliation will be better for us but I won’t be heartbroken if we go the Indy route.
    Retreating into my sandy abyss……

    • Jack O'Brien says:

      The view from my mountaintop “abyss” favors the affiliation option, Travis, and you have raised some very good points. I do think that the independant route leads more to a return to the “home team” concept which seems to be favored by a lot of Rays fans. I am not in that camp as I feel that our recent teams’ quality has been far superior to earlier teams and I really get my “jollies” when I can turn on the TV to watch a Rich Peverly or Deryk Engelland perform so well knowing that the Rays had a big hand in their development. We wont see as much of this , I’m afraid, under independant operations.

  4. Carl J Clark says:

    Right now there are 6 ECHL teams that carry dual affiliations:

    Wheeling (Montreal/Pittsburgh)
    Cincinnati (Florida/Nashville)
    Kalamazoo (New Jersey/Vancouver)
    Toledo (Chicago/Detroit)
    Florida (Carolina/Tampa Bay)
    Gwinnett (Buffalo/Phoenix)

    And there are 7 NHL teams with no current ECHL affiliation:

    New York Islanders
    Boston Bruins
    Toronto Maple Leafs
    St. Louis Blues
    Colorado Avalanche
    Anaheim Ducks
    Dallas Stars

    So, all told, there are 13 possible affiliates out there. Do y’all think we’ll most likely pick up one of the teams freed by the Caps/Reading agreement (Boston/Toronto)? Will we snag one of the other free teams? Or will we pick up someone who’s tired of sharing an ECHL affiliate with another club?

  5. I like the Anaheim connection the best. Their AHL affiliate is Norfolk, the team that just won the Calder Cup. Good draw for free agents at the ECHL level. Costs to move players between AHL/ECHL not too bad. And I don’t have to hate on the affiliation since I am a Pens fan.
    On the flip side, the Islanders organization (Bridgeport being the AHL affiliate) would not be a bad fit either. Except for the fact that I would have to listen to my wife gloat (She grew up on Long Island) whenever a player made it to the NHL and did well against the Pens.
    Toronto might be a nice match. I see so many Canadians on I-95, maybe we could get them to make a left on their way down to Florida to catch a game. What frozen Canadian wouldn’t want to stop by Charleston to thaw out a little?
    2 other outside shots might be Colorado and Vancouver. Both have affiliations with CHL clubs but not ECHL clubs.
    Time will tell.
    I hope it just isn’t too long until we have a solution.

  6. HEY! JoeyZ!!!!!! Do you care to enlighten us a little or kick out a new blog soon??? Getting a little stir crazy without any new blogs, lack of affiliation news, any signing news, etc, etc….. Can we get a little hockey love? Throw us a bone? Do you have anything you want to share with the group?????

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