The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with defenseman Tariq Hammond for the 2020-21 season.
Hammond, 26, is preparing for his third professional season after playing in 56 games with South Carolina in 2019-20 while on an AHL contract with the Hershey Bears. The Calgary, Alberta native led the Rays with a +29 rating that was tied for sixth in the ECHL while totaling 14 points on three goals and 11 assists. Hammond also finished with an even or better rating in 31 straight games from Oct. 19 to Jan. 19.
“We are extremely excited to bolster our defensive corps with the return of Tariq Hammond,” said Stingrays Head Coach Ryan Blair. “Tariq leads by example on and off the ice. He is a true team player, a great leader and an all-around pro. We are excited to continue his development in a passionate and positive environment this coming season.”
Before signing with Hershey, Hammond spent most of his first pro campaign with the AHL’s Binghamton Devils during the 2018-19 season, appearing in 43 games.
“We had a special thing going last year with a great group of players, coaches and staff,” Hammond said. “I want to be a part of that again – places like this are tough to find and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I’m super excited to come back and I can’t wait to get things going and finish off what we started last year.”
Hammond also spoke highly of Blair, who he worked closely with on the defense last season.
“One thing about coach Blair is that he’s ultra-committed,” said Hammond. “I don’t think he ever took a day off. His mind was always on hockey and trying to learn and get better. We talked often and he asked me a ton of questions which I thought was awesome. There was no coast mode for him, and I think he is going to do the exact same things as our head coach and even step it up a notch. I can already tell he has a passion for the coaching side of things and that is the type of person you want to have in your corner.”
Prior to turning pro, Hammond played four seasons at the University of Denver from 2014-18. During that time, he helped the Pioneers capture the 2017 NCAA National Championship while playing in all the team’s 44 games and totaling nine points (three goals, six assists). Hammond served as Denver's captain in 2017-18, helping lead the team to an NCHC conference title. In total, the left shot blueliner played in 125 NCAA games with the Pioneers and scored 26 points (six goals, 20 assists).