Let’s face it–hockey is a Northern sport.
Since I am from up North, I had no choice but to learn the sport.
My dad insisted on it, purchasing season tickets for the local AHL team when I was nine years old. I always say I learned hockey by going to the games, but I learned to love hockey by going to the games with my dad.
He has instilled in me a love for the sport that I carried with me to this day (at age 24). Being that I now reside in South Carolina, I have taken interest in the South Carolina Stingrays.
What I have come to quickly discover about the Stingrays is that they are arguably one of the best ECHL teams of all time.
The three-time Kelly Cup Champions have qualified for the playoffs every year but one. In efforts to make it to the playoffs this year, the Stingrays went on a 23-game winning streak (www.postandcourier.com).
According to Andrew Miller, “The Stingrays’ 23-game winning streak is the longest in ECHL history and the second longest in professional hockey history, trailing only Norfolk’s mark of 28 straight victories set during the 2012 season in the American Hockey League.”
Though the Stingrays winning streak– like all winning streaks– had to come to an end, it helped them to earn a spot both in history and the playoffs.
And to no surprise, the Stingrays managed to advance all the way to Kelly Cup finals, after an exciting win over the Toledo Walleye last night: “Joe Devin scored five minutes and 35 seconds into the third overtime period to lift South Carolina past Toledo, 1-0, in Game 7 of the ECHL Kelly Cup Eastern Conference finals before a sellout crowd of more than 8,300 at the Huntington Center, in Toledo, Ohio, Wednesday night,” reported Miller.
The Stingrays will face the Allen Americans in Game 1 of The Kelly Cup finals this Sunday, at the Allen Event Center. The series is said to follow a 3-3-1 format, which means the first three games will take place in Allen, Texas.
The Stingrays will host for the first time in the series on June 7th.
Though some doubt the Stingrays and fear that this might be an elimination game (as it is Game 4 of the series), I believe that the Stingrays will use this game and others in the finals to prove that they are one of the best ECHL teams in history.