The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with team captain Andrew Cherniwchan for the 2020-21 season. The forward, who tied for the team lead in scoring last season and ranks eighth all-time in SC history with 221 total points, is the team’s first player signing announcement for its upcoming 28th season of ECHL hockey.
In 60 games during 2019-20, Cherniwchan racked up 51 points and led the club with 28 goals. It was the second consecutive season that the Hinton, Alberta native led the Stingrays in scoring, after finishing 2018-19 with 67 points on 29 goals and 38 assists.
“I’m excited to sign back for another year,” Cherniwchan said. “I love the organization, the staff, the city, and I couldn’t imagine playing anywhere else. Hopefully we can bring back as many guys from last year’s team as possible and maybe add some new additions that help improve our roster even more. We’re looking to feed off the success we had last season.”
The 31-year-old is entering his eighth season with South Carolina and his ninth professional year overall. During his lengthy career, Cherniwchan has suited up for 276 regular season games with the Rays between 2011-20 and posted 104 goals and 117 assists. He has never played for any other ECHL franchise.
“Andrew has become a staple in our organization, and we are lucky to have someone like him,” said Stingrays President Rob Concannon. “He’s a fun, versatile player to watch. Whether he is blocking a shot on the penalty kill or scoring a big goal on the power play, Cherny is a gamer. He has turned into a valued leader on the ice and in the community. We’re glad he’s coming back.”
Cherniwchan has also accumulated extensive playoff experience during his time in the Lowcountry, playing in 39 total Kelly Cup Playoff games during his ECHL career, while scoring 21 points on 10 goals and 11 assists.
“We had a great group of leaders last year which made my job easy but wearing the “C” is something I take pride in,” Cherniwchan said. “I enjoy helping all the newcomers quickly adjust to the way we do things here and help them fit in to a new lifestyle with places to go and things to do away from the rink.”
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound forward has played 173 regular season games in the AHL during his career with Utica, Providence and the Springfield Falcons, scoring a total of 46 points (25 goals, 21 assists).
“I’ve been doing a bunch of home workouts for now and as it becomes safe to use more facilities in the area I’ll start to get out and do more to prepare,” Cherniwchan said. As of now, I’m just doing everything at home, staying safe, and enjoying myself out on the golf course whenever I can.”