NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – Friday is finally opening night for the Stingrays.
Fans in the Lowcountry are chomping at the bit to get things going on the ice. The lead off into opening night started on Monday, and there are many great events still to come leading up to puck drop and over the course of the weekend.
On Monday, fans turned out in large numbers at the Wild Wing Cafe for the season’s first newly named “Winging it with Warsofsky” coach’s show. The entire team was in attendance for the show, which featured interviews with Ryan Warsofsky, Nick Johnson, Trevor Gillies and Joe Devin. Over 75 fans packed the restaurant, with many standing along the walls and in the bar area due to all of the tables being full. The interviews were lively and well received by the fans. Gillies stole the show, as usual, with his quick banter and excellent storytelling ability.
On Thursday, fans will get a special treat from ABC News 4 WCIV in Charleston. They have put together “Stingrays Hockey: A 25th Anniversary Special” The 30-minute program will air at 7:30 EST on Thursday, October 19th. The special will have clips and highlights from the Stingrays past seasons and will also feature a roundtable panel of a dozen players and coaches both current and past.
Scott Eisberg, Sports Director for WCIV, who has covered the Stingrays for 11 years, is excited about the project. He has been dropping some great previews on his twitter account (@SEisbergWCIV) and had this to say in a Q&A session with The Sin Bin,
“We came up with the idea with the Stingrays about two months ago, we’ve been working on the special for about a month and a half now. We shot the interviews three weeks ago (the roundtable at the Coliseum) and then we did some other separate interviews with Anita Zucker, Cail Maclean, Spencer Carbery, Jared Bednar and more.” Eisberg said. “I think the whole special is really cool– great insight from the roundtable, great old video, really nice stuff with Anita and we do an In Memoriam segment which I think honors those who passed nicely.”
Friday will feature two Stingrays games. The annual alumni game will happen at 2 pm at the North Charleston Coliseum (NCC) and will feature former Stingrays from every era of play. The alumni game has become a mainstay in the Lowcountry and is made possible because of all of the former players who now live in the Charleston area. Even players whose careers took them elsewhere after playing in Charleston tend to gravitate back when their playing careers are over.
Opening night will have many events before and after puck drop, including a two-hour pre-game party hosted by local favorite DJ Natty Heavy, the raising of the Eastern Conference banner, a chance for fans to win their share of $25,000 during an on-ice shooting contest, and a remembrance for ticket sales manager Robert ‘Bob’ McCaffery and fans that have passed on since last season including longtime mainstay Eleanor Spradlin who graced the NCC for 24 years.
After opening night versus in-state rival Greenville Swamp Rabbits, the Stingrays will be on the road for their first match-up with the newly relocated Jacksonville Icemen. Both games should prove to be physical battles as all three teams have plenty of muscle on the ice to go to battle.
All in all, Stingrays fans hope it is a great weekend to start of the 25th anniversary season of hockey in the Lowcountry.