The South Carolina Stingrays will move forward without their MVP-winning goaltender.
Jeff Jakaitis has signed to play with the Lorenskog hockey club in Norway next season. Jakaitis’ rights were protected by the Stingrays, but was not tendered a qualifying offer.
With the exception of the 2009-10 season, Jakaitis has played his career in the United States. Last season was Jakaitis’ best as a pro, as he took home the league’s MVP, goaltender of the year awards, and was named first team all-ECHL.
He also set a few league records during the Stingrays’ record-setting 23-game winning streak from February to March; including an ECHL and minor pro hockey record with a 321:46 shutout streak; a league record four straight shutouts from March 7-20; and the record for longest personal winning streak by a goaltender at 16 games from February 15-April 2.
His 23 career shutouts are just two behind Marc Magliarditi for the all-time league record.
“I did well in Italy and it will be interesting to try me in Norway, so I’m looking forward to taking on the challenge,” Jakaitis said. “We had a fight with Stingrays (last) season now and I’m hungry for more success.”
“What we have heard and seen of Jeff is good. He has shown that he is a winner type and I have every confidence that he will be one of the best goalkeepers in the league. Jeff has been on our block long and I think he slips nicely into the group,” said Lorenskog head coach Kenneth Larson.
Jakaitis spoke with Stingrays play-by-play announcer Joseph Zakrzewski about the move on Monday:
The South Carolina Stingrays lost to the Allen Americans in seven games of the Kelly Cup Finals.