Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Best Players in Stingrays History by Andrew Miller

Since coverage is so sparse, anytime I find information about our minor league teams I like to share it with you. Check out this article from Andrew Miller of The Post and Courier.

10 Years Of Exemplary Stingrays February 2, 2008

By Andrew Miller
The Post and Courier

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The ECHL is celebrating its 20th anniversary and the South Carolina Stingrays are commemorating their 15th season in the league.

It's also an anniversary of sorts for yours truly. This is my 10th season covering the team. My first campaign with the Stingrays came during the 1998-99 season when they went 40-20-10, finishing third in the Southeast Division and were bounced from the playoffs in the first round by Mississippi, which eventually went on to capture the Kelly Cup.

Over the last 10 seasons, the Stingrays made the playoffs eight straight seasons, won the 2001 Kelly Cup, while going through more than 300 players, 20 goaltenders, four team presidents and three head coaches.

From time to time, Stingrays fans will stop me on the concourse at the North Charleston Coliseum and ask me about my favorite all-time players. In honor of that, I'm going to pick my all-decade team (OK, so technically it's only been nine years, but who's counting).

You'll notice that some very prominent players were left off the team. Former Stingrays greats like Mike Ross or Jason Cipolla are not on this team because I never saw them play. Same is true for Jason Fitzsimmons, who was with the team as a head coach and assistant coach for nine seasons while I was on the beat, but never saw him between the pipes.

I also tried to pick only guys who had been on the team for at least one full season. So players like Jonas Johansson, Kyle Wilson and Marc Busenburg, who played for the Stingrays in only a handful of games, aren't included. Same is true for current Stingrays such as Travis Morin and Patrick McNeill, who certainly could have been considered for the team.

One other thing I tried to do was pick a team in every sense of the word. I didn't want an all-star team with guys who were just offensive in nature. Sure, there's plenty of firepower in the lineup, but this is a team that could play just about any style of hockey and still win.


Brett Marietti (1994-2003)
Mr. Stingray. Perhaps the best captain in ECHL history and winner of two Kelly Cup titles. A great two-way player, who could play in every situation. There's a reason his No. 24 jersey is up in the rafters of the North Charleston Coliseum.

Dave Seitz (1996-2004)
The franchise's all-time leading scorer and the best passer to ever put on a Stingrays jersey. Was the playoff MVP when the Stingrays won their second Kelly Cup title in 2001. His No. 14 jersey is up there next to Marietti's.

Greg Schmidt (1998-2001)
Maybe the most underrated and under-appreciated player in Stingrays history. Scored 68 goals in three seasons, mostly from the third line. Could kill penalties and was a top middleweight fighter when asked to drop the gloves.

Rich Peverley (2005)
Probably the most gifted overall offensive player in Stingrays history. A superb stick handler and skater and without the NHL lockout in 2004 would never have played in the ECHL. Has played in 25 games with Nashville Predators over the last two seasons.

Joey Tenute (2005)
Like Peverley, Tenute should never have been in the ECHL. Was the 2005 ECHL Rookie of the Year, leading the team with 75 points, including 34 goals. Tenute has one game in the NHL in 2006 with the Washington Capitals.


Rob Concannon (1995-2000, 2003)
Every team needs an agitator. No one could get under the skin of opposing players, coaches and fans better than "Coo Coo". A fan favorite, Concannon had four straight 20-goal seasons and could kill penalties. Inducted into Stingrays Hall of Fame.

Ed Courtenay (1997, 2003-05)
Courtenay had a real nose for the net. Led the ECHL in scoring during the 1997 season with 110 points and led the team in scoring at age 35 during the 2004 season with 66 points. Inducted into Stingrays Hall of Fame.

Matt Reid (2004-present)
Stingrays fans hated Reid when he played in Pee Dee, but love him now. Few players have more of an impact on their teams than Reid. Plays every shift like it's his last.

Cail MacLean (2005-present)
A professional in every sense of the word. Can play in every situation and leads by example, still blocking shots at age 30. MacLean would be my captain on any other team without Marietti.

Adam Calder (1999-2003)
The Stingrays' top scorer on their 2001 Kelly Cup team. A favorite among his teammates, but was the only player who was truly happy when he was miserable.

Jason Sessa (1999-2002)
Sessa led the Stingrays in goals with 34 on the 2001 Kelly Cup team. Was perhaps the best pure goal-scorer in Stingrays history. Sessa and Seitz were a lethal combination on the ice.

Marty Clapton (2000-06)
Clapton won Kelly Cup titles with both Hampton Roads (1998) and the Stingrays (2001). Clapton could also play on defense, which is why he's got a spot on this team.

Marc Tardif (1995-200)
Every team needs a tough guy and few came tougher than Tardif. Tardif wasn't just a goon. He could play a regular shift and he loved to throw his body around on the ice. Tardif was also capable of chipping in offensively.


Jared Bednar (1995-97, 1999-2002)
The toughest player ever to put on a Stingrays uniform. A solid defensive player that other teams hated to play against.

Paul Traynor (1998, 2002)
Only played in 72 games and didn't record a single goal in two seasons with the Stingrays. But was the best stay-at-home defenseman in last 10 seasons for the Stingrays. Other teams just didn't score when Traynor was on the ice.

Trevor Johnson (2000-06)
A former Stingrays captain who loved to play the body. Bad shoulders limited what he could do on the ice at times, but a tough, gritty defenseman.

Chris Hynnes (1996-99)
Hynnes had an absolute cannon from the point on the power play. Had 60 goals in three seasons for the Stingrays. Enough said.

Brad Dexter (1996-2001)
The best offensive-defenseman in Stingrays history. A superior stick handler and fantastic skater. He loved to join the rush, which would get him in trouble at least once a game. Dexter was an underrated defensive player. Should be in the Stingrays Hall of Fame.

Mark Ardelan (2005)
Another player who wouldn't have been with the Stingrays without the NHL lockout. An offensive force on the blue line in a similar mold to Dexter.

Nate Kiser (2004-present)
Kiser is the most improved player in Stingrays history. Came to the Stingrays predominantly as a tough guy, but has become a solid two-way defenseman over the last three seasons.


Kirk Daubenspeck (1999-2001, 2002-06)
Daubenspeck was the best "big-game" goalie in Stingrays history. Just ask Cail MacLean, who played against the Stingrays during their 2001 Kelly Cup title run. Dauber doesn't have eye-popping statistics, but knows how to win, which is all that matters.

Davis Parley (2005-present)
Every team that wins a championship needs two quality goalies. If Parley hangs around long enough, he'll break all of Daubenspeck's records.

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