South Carolina Stingrays president Robbie Concannon grew up a Boston Bruins fan in the blue collar town of Dorchester, Mass.
Now he’s a part of the organization.
The Stingrays formally announced a National Hockey League affiliation agreement with the Boston Bruins on Wednesday morning. The Bruins become the sixth NHL team to be affiliated with South Carolina, replacing the Washington Capitals, who were partners with the Stingrays for the past eight seasons.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for me on a professional and personal level,” Concannon said. “I’ve followed the Bruins my whole life, and to be a part of their organization, even in a small way, is surreal.”
The Stingrays will deal mainly with the Providence Bruins, the American Hockey League affiliate for Boston.
Stingrays coach Spencer Carbery said he was looking for an NHL team that would be sympathetic to an ECHL franchise and their constant roster movement during the season. Providence coach Bruce Cassidy coached three seasons in the ECHL with Jacksonville and Trenton.
“We wanted to find an organization that understood what the ECHL is and what an ECHL team goes through during a typical season with player movement,” Carbery said.
The Stingrays were forced to find a new NHL team when the Capitals signed an ECHL affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals in early July. The Bruins were affiliated with Reading last season.
Rich Peverley, who played for the Stingrays during the 2004-05 season, played for the Bruins this past season and helped lead Boston to a Stanley Cup title in 2011.
“I can’t think of a better place for a prospect to start their professional careers,” Peverley said. “The ECHL is an excellent league, a lot better than when I was down in Charleston. It’s a great place to develop as a player and learn what it means to be a professional.”
The Stingrays have developed several players who have gone on to play in the NHL, including goalies Braden Holtby, who started for the Capitals in the Stanley Cup playoffs last season, and James Reimer, who won 20 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 2010-11 season.