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Welcome Back, Stingrays!
After a two year fling with the Reading Royals that ended earlier this month, the Washington Capitals have announced that they’re renewing their ECHL affiliation with the South Carolina Stingrays. While it’s sad to see the Royals go, Caps fans couldn’t ask for a better replacement.
To be fair, there will be longer travel times between members of the Caps family, with the drive from Charleston to Hershey being close to ten hours. It’s a travel route well known to Caps fans, who spent years watching the Goalie Shuffle as injuries resulted in players both flying and driving between the locations during the last window of affiliation between the teams. From a developmental standpoint, the Stingrays have always done well by their big brothers in the AHL and NHL, and the Caps had several players successfully graduate up the ranks to the NHL from Charleston, including goaltenders Michal Neuvirth, Braden Holtby, and Philipp Grubauer.
There’s no way to replace the perks that came from a backyard affiliate, and it’s a relief to see that the Caps front office has opted not to try to court one of the other nearby teams solely for the sake of geography. The Stingrays have an established (and highly decorated!) head coach, Spencer Carbery, and a solid record in the post-season that has included three Kelly Cup victories.
Capitals Outsider welcomes the Stingrays back into the Capitals’ family, and all of us look forward to covering them in the coming season.