From Skates to Steaks: Finding a Home in Charleston
NORTH CHARLESTON, SC – For most athletes, the transition from player to businessperson can be tough. For others, like Hunter Bishop, it’s a simple transition when you find something you love to do in a place called home.
During the NHL lockout in the 2012-13 season, a lot of players were scrambling to find places to play at the last minute. Bishop was no exception. Originally set to sign with the Orlando Solar Bears in the offseason leading up to 2012, a hiccup of logistics forced Hunter and his wife, Tara, to look elsewhere.
“That is probably the greatest mishap of my life,” says Bishop. “Tara and I got married in the summer of 2012. I was signed with Orlando, but they ran out of housing for married players, which opened the opportunity to sign with the Stingrays. The second Tara and I stepped off the plane in Charleston, we knew this was a place we would call home after retirement.”
Retirement is a funny term for people like Hunter. Following 10 seasons as a professional hockey player, the Fairbanks, Alaska native wasn’t ready to settle down and relax. Instead, he already made plans for after he hung up his skates for the last time.
“When I was younger, I participated in the Turcotte Hockey School and was a head instructor until I was 21. I even started a Turcotte camp in Charleston the summer after I played here. The following year, I called Alfie [Turcotte] and explained I wanted to start my own hockey school. Nine years later, I’m still running Hunter Bishop Hockey here in Charleston.”
Bishop’s expertise has progressed rather quickly. During the hockey offseason, he works with pros like Andy Miele, Andrew Rowe, Trevor Mingoia, and Boston Bruins’ John Moore and David Krejci. The idea is that while HBH develops individual and fundamental skills, it also helps to keep you mentally prepared so there’s no lag time come opening night.
“I want to help players feel more comfortable heading into the season. I want them to have that swagger and playoff mindset as they hit the ice on opening night.”
On top of HBH, Bishop will return to the team that changed his career, the South Carolina Stingrays, as a skills coach for 2021-22 season.
Most people would think between running a hockey school and consulting for the Stingrays, there wouldn’t be any more time in the day, but Hunter has added another venture he’s passionate about to his plate. On September 20th, Bishop opened the New York Butcher Shoppe in Nexton.
“My wife’s family is heavily involved in franchising back in Ohio. My plan wasn’t to do something like this, but after visiting the other NYBS locations in downtown Charleston during COVID, I knew this was something I had to be a part of going forward.”
Bishop said he loved the NYBS atmosphere the second he walked in. It’s the mom & pop feeling of a small store, but the high quality and versatility of a big shop. The butcher shop and specialty grocery store makes all their ground beef in house, and gives you the option to grab fresh meat or pre-prepared meals for easy lunches and dinners. Over the next few years, Bishop plans to expand the NYBS across the region, allowing everyone to experience the same feeling he felt when he walked into his first shop.
It’s amazing to think that a 2012 summer wedding and an oversight in housing brought Hunter to the place he calls his forever home.
“My one year in Charleston was the happiest I’ve ever been during my career. It’s how we knew that Charleston was going to be our home.”
The Stingrays will open the 2021-22 season on October 23 in North Charleston against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits at 6:05 p.m.
Season ticket plans are on sale now! For more information or to purchase, contact the Stingrays by phone at 843-744-2248 or submit this form.