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Darren's Last Call

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Last game of the decade tomorrow night for the Stingrays!  What a decade it has been for this team and its fans.  Two Kelly Cups, four Head Coaches and multiple memories. 

Things have really changed for the Stingrays in ten short years, but not as much as the ECHL has changed.  It is fitting that the Rays play the Florida Everblades on New Year’s Eve this year because Florida is the only team that began this decade in the same division as the Stingrays that still exists.  Can you name the other five teams in the seven-team Southeast Division in 1999-2000?  If you are trying to figure this out, you have probably forgotten that the Charlotte Checkers played in the Northeast Division that season and the Rays and Blades battled with The Tallahassee Tiger Sharks, The Pee Dee Pride, The Greenville Grrrowl, The Jacksonville Lizard Kings and The Augusta Lynx. 

The Southwest Division that year has completely disappeared, for a steak dinner name all nine teams…… too late.  They were The Arkansas Riverblades, The Baton Rouge Kingfish, The Birmingham Bulls, The Jackson Bandits, The Louisiana Ice Gators, The Mississippi Sea Wolves, The Mobile Mysticks, the New Orleans Brass and The Pensacola Ice Pilots.

It would be easier to name the survivors from the 28 team league that began the decade in the ECHL.  Can you guess how many?  There were six: Johnstown, Wheeling, Charlotte, Trenton, South Carolina and Florida.  What does this all mean?  Who knows?  I know that I am thankful to have hockey here in the Low Country, a solid chance to defend the Cup this Spring and a great group of individuals in the office and on the ice that do a tremendous job giving back to the community.

The New Years Eve game has been a tradition and the Rays have been home on New Year’s Eve all decade long.  No balloons this year though, thank the Rockettes for that; enjoy the noisemakers and have a very Happy New Year.

Hockey, Hockey, Hockey!



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