NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Washington Capitals and AHL's Hershey Bears, announced today that the club has signed forwards Ryan Leibold and Ian Mackey to ECHL contracts for the 2023-24 season.
Leibold returns to South Carolina for his first full season of professional hockey. The Ashburn, VA native tallied four points (one goal, three assists) in nine games with the Stingrays last season.
"I'm very excited to have Ryan back," said Stingrays Head Coach Brenden Kotyk. "From the first time I met him, I could tell he was a very serious guy. He is already a pro with only a handful of games under his belt. He is relentless on the puck, physical, and good in our defensive zone. He also wins key faceoffs. He is going to have a large role for us this year."
Before joining the Stingrays in March, Leibold spent last season with the Merrimack College Warriors as a graduate student. Leibold helped Merrimack reach the Hockey East Championship game and earn an at-large bid to the 16-team NCAA national tournament for the second time in the program's history. Before transferring to Merrimack, Leibold spent four years with the Holy Cross Crusaders. In five seasons of college hockey, Leibold registered 70 points (24 goals, 46 assists) in 157 games.
"I'm super excited to be back with the Stingrays," Leibold said. "I loved my few weeks here last season, and I'm excited to spend a whole year getting the pro hockey experience in such a great place. The fans were great last year. It was always super cool to have a packed Coliseum. Around town, people know who the Stingrays are, and the city loves the Stingrays. It's cool to be in an area where that's the case."
Mackey rejoins the Stingrays after playing eight games for the team last season. He left an impression during his short stint in Charleston.
"Ian played some really good hockey for us last season," Kotyk said. "He was being physical and putting up some goals. He's a good locker room guy, and he's tough too. He has no problem sticking up for his teammates, which is a big thing with our group. We have to match the physicality of the South Division, and Ian fits that role really well."
The 6’3’’, 181-pound forward scored a goal in each of his final two games with South Carolina, including the game-winning goal in a 5-2 Stingrays victory over the Jacksonville Icemen on March 19.
"I was super excited when the Stingrays reached out and said they were interested in bringing me back," Mackey said. "I enjoyed my time in South Carolina last year. I really enjoy the fan base and the town of Charleston. I think I can bring good energy to the lineup. I like to use my size to my advantage, finish my checks, and play physical. I feel like I have a lot more to showcase, and my best hockey is yet to come."
The Stingrays will open the 2023-24 season on October 21 at the North Charleston Coliseum against the Orlando Solar Bears at 6:05 p.m.
2023-24 Season ticket plans are on sale now! For more information or to purchase, contact the Stingrays by phone at 843-744-2248 or submit this form.