Stingrays Agree To Terms With Justin Florek
The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with forward Justin Florek for the 2020-21 season.
Florek, 30, is set to begin his ninth season of professional hockey, which has included a stint in the NHL with the Boston Bruins and over 500 combined games in the AHL, DEL and EBEL. Most recently, the 6-foot-4 inch, 205-pound attacker spent the 2019-20 season in Austria with EHC Linz of the EBEL and recorded 25 points in 48 games on eight goals and 17 assists.
“Justin is a huge addition to our Stingrays forward group,” said the team’s Head Coach Ryan Blair. “He comes to us with a ton of experience at the AHL level and will be a huge asset in terms of leadership. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Justin as a player and person, and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to Charleston.”
The Marquette, Michigan native played collegiately for his hometown team, Northern Michigan University, from 2008-12 along with Stingrays captain Andrew Cherniwchan. During his senior year in 2011-12, he served as team captain, while Cherniwchan was also part of the leadership group as an alternate captain. The two also played together for the Providence Bruins in the AHL during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
“With everything going on in the world right now and my daughter starting first grade, we wanted to look at coming back to North America,” Florek said. “Cherny’s been a guy that I’ve known since we started playing together as freshmen in college. We played four years at Northern Michigan University together, a few years up in Providence in the AHL together, and we see each other every summer and have been good friends throughout our careers.
“He was the first person I reached out to about playing back over here and I trust anything he says. He’s obviously been here in South Carolina and I know he likes it a lot so I’m just really happy it all worked out and I’m excited to get back to playing with him. Hopefully we can have some more fun on the ice together.”
Florek was selected by the Boston Bruins in the 5th round of the 2010 NHL Draft and signed an entry-level contract with the club at the conclusion of his college career. From 2012-15 he remained with the Bruins organization, where he suited up for 221 games with Providence during four different seasons and totaled 104 points on 43 goals and 61 assists. Florek then spent one year in the New York Islanders organization with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers during 2015-16 before joining the Milwaukee Admirals for the 2016-17 campaign.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always talked to guys that have played in South Carolina and I’ve only heard good things,” Florek said. “The Stingrays have a great history as well as the teams they’re affiliated with in Washington and Hershey. Everything I’ve heard throughout the years about the organization and the city has been great so we’re really excited to be a part of it.”
The left-shot winger has spent his last three seasons playing professionally in Europe. He had a two-year stint in Germany with the Iserlohn Roosters of the DEL where he served as team captain during the 2018-19 campaign before playing in Austria during 2019-20.