When Ryan Warsofsky got to the South Carolina Stingrays coaches office Wednesday at the North Charleston Coliseum, he went straight to his desk.
One problem: Warsofsky’s desk wasn’t his anymore.
His new desk, his new chair was that of his old boss, former Stingrays head coach Spencer Carbery.
Warsofsky will take the next couple of days to clean-out his old desk and move into Carbery’s old spot as he was named the Stingrays new head coach at a press conference Wednesday.
Warsofsky, 28, becomes the seventh head coach in club history, and takes control of the bench after serving as an assistant coach and manager of hockey operations for the past three seasons.
“It hasn’t hit me yet,” Warsofsky said. “It’s surreal to be the new head coach of the South Carolina Stingrays. I’m really excited. I wish the season was going to start tomorrow. I can’t wait to get out on the ice again.”
Warsofsky will have to wait until the Stingrays’ season opener on Oct. 22 against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.
Carbery left to become head coach of the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League after five seasons at the helm. Carbery leaves as the Stingrays’ all-time winningest coach with a record of 207-115-38.
“He’s going to be a tough guy to replace, but I learn from the very best in the business,” Warsofsky said. “I can’t thank Spencer enough. He’s been a great role model for me on and off the ice the past three years and an even better friend.”
Warsofsky becomes the first American-born coach in franchise history, and is the fifth-youngest coach in ECHL history. He is currently the youngest active coach in the league.
“I’ve watched Ryan develop not only as a coach, but as a person and he’s ready for this,” said Stingrays president Rob Concannon. “Ryan has taken on a bigger and bigger role over the past couple of years and I’m excited to see him take over the team.”
Since joining the Stingrays in 2013, Warsofsky has played a large role in several of the most successful seasons in team history while working with the team’s defense and special teams. Under his guidance last season, South Carolina won the ECHL’s South Division, and surrendered just 162 goals against, the lowest total for a single season in club history.
Additionally, the club finished in the top-five in the ECHL on the penalty kill (87.5 percent, first) and the power play (19.6 percent, fourth). Warsofsky was part of the 2014-15 club that recorded an ECHL-record 23-game win-streak and advanced to the Kelly Cup Finals.
Under Warsofsky’s direction, the club’s penalty kill finished first in the league in each of the last two seasons.
“The South Carolina Stingrays — and the Zucker family — are excited to embark on the next chapter of our relationship with Ryan Warsofsky,” said Stingrays owner Anita Zucker. “Ryan has been a major contributor to the organization since his arrival three years ago, and we are thrilled to give him the reins as he develops what will undoubtedly be a great future for the Stingrays, and the beginning of his own long and successful career.”
Warsofsky, a native of North Marshfield, Mass., was a defenseman for Sacred Heart and Curry College before playing one season of professional hockey in Europe in 2011-12. He moved behind the bench in 2012, serving as an assistant coach at Curry College for one season before joining the Stingrays.
“Ryan is ready to be a head coach,” Carbery said. “He’s worked very hard to get to this position in his coaching career and he deserves to be where he is now.”
Warsofsky, who will be getting married this weekend, said his first order of business is to start signing players for the upcoming season.
“I’m really happy for Ryan,” Stingrays forward Patrick Gaul said. “He’s worked hard the last three years to prepare for this opportunity. I’m excited about next season.”