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 eleven-year veteran and team captain Andrew Cherniwchan has retired from professional hockey.
Cherniwchan, 34, retires with the third most games played in Stingrays history (508). He is also third in all-time Stingrays points (367) and goals (171) and is fourth in assists (196). He is the only Stingray ever to play double-digit seasons in South Carolina. Cherniwchan served as the Stingrays’ captain from 2019-2023, and he helped the Stingrays reach the Kelly Cup Finals in 2017 and 2021.
"For eleven seasons, Andrew Cherniwchan gave everything he had to this organization on and off the ice," said Stingrays President Rob Concannon. "It was a pleasure to watch Cherny wear the Stingrays jersey. He has been a tremendous leader and was a fierce competitor. I will miss his sneaky open ice hits, his timely goals, and his resiliency for blocking shots.”
“I remember when Andrew first joined the team in Kalamazoo right out of Northern Michigan University in 2011-12. I could tell that he was going to be a dynamic player. He has been a big part of some of the best Stingrays teams of all time, played in two Kelly Cup Championships, and helped the Rays continue their tradition of excellence. He was a quiet leader who always let his play on the ice do the talking. There is no question he will join some of the other former Rays in the Stingrays Hall of Fame, and we will miss seeing him around the rink. We wish him and his wife, Katie, the best of luck as they embark on their next journey in life."
Cherniwchan spent parts of five seasons in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins, Springfield Falcons, Utica Comets, and Hershey Bears, tallying 49 points (26 goals, 23 assists) in 193 career AHL games. The Hinton, Alberta native has skated in 701 games of professional hockey between the ECHL and AHL.
"Cherny has been with this organization for a long time, and he always played hard and gave it everything he had," said Stingrays Head Coach Brenden Kotyk. "His legacy, not just with the South Carolina Stingrays, but the ECHL as a whole, is highly respected."
Before turning pro, Cherniwchan played four seasons of college hockey for the University of Northern Michigan Wildcats, producing 84 points (35 goals, 49 assists) in 146 NCAA games. The 5'11",181-pound forward was an assistant captain for his junior and senior seasons with the Wildcats. He played alongside Justin Florek for all four seasons at Northern Michigan, and the pair reunited with the Providence Bruins for two seasons before playing together in South Carolina for the final three seasons of Cherniwchan's career.
Cherniwchan expressed gratitude for the people who helped him throughout his hockey career.
"First and foremost, I want to thank my wife, Katie. I don't think any of this would have been possible without her," said Cherniwchan. "I want to thank my family for helping me become a professional hockey player and always supporting me. I want to thank all the coaches I have had throughout my hockey career. I'm super grateful that Rob Concannon and Spencer Carbery brought me here to the Stingrays. This is where my pro career got started."
"I'd like to thank the Zucker family and Todd Halloran for giving us the resources we need as players to be successful. I want to thank all the trainers, doctors, equipment managers, broadcasters, and front office staff I have worked with. I want to give a special thanks to the fans here in Charleston. They have been great to my wife and me and provided unwavering support. I am going to miss the nights when the Coliseum is packed."
"Lastly, I want to thank all my teammates I've played with over the years. They added so much to my experience every season, and I have a lot of great memories because of them."
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 Single Game tickets are on sale at this link.