The South Carolina Stingrays team bus pulled out of the North Charleston Coliseum parking lot Wednesday night for an 800-mile journey to Upstate New York.
The bus, however, left one very important passenger back in the Lowcountry -- Stingrays head coach Cail MacLean.
But MacLean has a pretty good excuse for missing the Stingrays' three-game road trip that starts tonight at Elmira. MacLean and his wife Keri are expecting their first child any day now.
"The baby just didn't cooperate with the schedule," MacLean said with a chuckle. "This is a huge moment in my life and for Keri and our family and there was no way I was going to miss it. It's tough not being on the trip, but I've always felt that family comes first."
After tonight's game, the Stingrays travel to Pennsylvania for two games against Reading on Saturday and Sunday. If the baby comes today or early enough on Saturday, MacLean said there's an outside chance he could join the team in Reading for Sunday's game.
"My best guess is that I'll be in Charleston for the weekend," MacLean said. "Things would have to happen pretty quickly for me to get up to Reading."
Taking MacLean's place on the bench will be assistant coach Spencer Carbery, who served as one of the Stingrays' enforcers on the ice less than eight months ago.
"When Cail and I first talked about taking this job, we discussed this exact scenario," Carbery said. "He said he might not make this road trip and that I might have to take over for a couple of games. I'm excited. I'm a little nervous. It's the same feeling I'd get before a game when I played. I didn't think I'd be a head coach this quickly, but I'm looking forward to the challenge."
MacLean and Carbery spent all week preparing.
"We've gone over just about every scenario," Carbery said. "Cail is a meticulous planner. He's a guy that pays attention to all the details, so I know I'm prepared for just about anything."
MacLean will watch the games at home on his computer and might call during intermissions.
"Spencer knows my number, but mainly we'll talk after the games," MacLean said. "I'm not going to lie, it's not going to be easy to watch the guys play from so far away, but it's for a good cause."
Campbell called up to AHL Bridgeport
Stingrays winger Trent Campbell was called up to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
Campbell, 27, played in eight games with the Stingrays, scoring one goal and four assists for five points and eight penalty minutes. He led the Stingrays in scoring last season with 20 goals and 48 assists for a career-best 68 points in 60 games. Since joining the Stingrays, he has 155 points (53g, 102a) in 154 games.
Reach Andrew Miller at 937-5599. Check out the Stingrays 'Rays the Roof' blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/stingrays.
South Carolina at Elmira
When: Today, 7:30 p.m.
Where: First Arena, Elmira, NY
Records: South Carolina (3-4-1, 7 points); Elmira (6-2-3, 15 points).
Radio: WTMZ 910-AM