Rugged Stingrays winger Spencer Carbery still think there's plenty of gas left in the tank, but an opportunity to get into the coaching profession was too much to pass up.

Carbery, 28, hung up his skates earlier this week and will become an assistant coach for South Carolina this hockey season.

"My plan was to play this season," Carbery said. "I still love to play, I still love the competition and I still think I can contribute to a team, but when the chance to become an assistant coach with the Stingrays came up, it was an opportunity that I didn't think would come along again anytime soon, so I wanted to jump on it. I'm 28-years-old and that's a fossil by ECHL standards."

Carbery played for the Stingrays for three season and was a member of the 2009 Kelly Cup championship team. While with the Stingrays, the Victoria, British Columbia, native scored 22 goals and added 26 assists for 48 points in 94 games. Before arriving in the Lowcountry, Carbery played for the Bakersfield Condors, Fresno Falcons and Stockton Thunder of the ECHL and the Tulsa Oilers of the CHL. He received the first-ever Jerry Zucker Community Service Award in March 2009.

"As a player, Spencer was a consummate pro and a great leader," said Stingrays head coach Cail MacLean. "He consistently gave his team an honest effort, was courageous on the ice and led with an even temperament. Those qualities along with Spencer's experience and passion for the game of hockey will make him a huge asset behind the bench.

"I think Spencer will help out tremendously with the development of our young players. He knows the game and he was tireless worker on and off the ice. He'll have those same qualities as an assistant coach."

Carbery admits he'll miss being on the ice.

"No question about it," Carbery said. "Anyone who said they won't miss the game is crazy. There's nothing out there that can duplicate that competitive feeling you get when you're on the ice.

I'll miss hanging out the guys and the camaraderie that only comes with being a part of a team."

Carbery knows his role will be different with the team this season.

"My relationship with the guys is going to be a little different now that I'm a coach," Carbery said. "You have to take a step back a little bit, but that doesn't mean that I'm not going to be their friends anymore. I'm still going to be the same guy."

Reach Andrew Miller at apmiller@postandcourier.com and check out the Stingrays 'Rays the Roof' blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/stingrays.