Stingrays Win Kelly Cup

By Wil Kirwan
At the start of the 1999-2000 season, The Hockey News picked the South Carolina Stingrays to win it all in the ECHL. As it turned out, they were a year off. Additions to the team like Ryan Brindley, Zach Ham, Joel Irving, and Scott Swanson proved to be the difference between the team that underachieved, and the team that over achieved to beat the Brabham Cup Champion Trenton Titans. The Stingrays saw a season that had an initially bleak outlook when the team started 1-3-1 turn into the stuff dreams are made of through a season with plenty of ups and downs.

The season for the ‘Rays was filled with call-ups, and when Leading scorer Jason Sessa was called up to St. John’s of the AHL, many writers wrote off the Stingrays as having the ability to make a run deep into the playoffs. As it turned out, the loss of Jason Sessa was not something that would slow the team down. With Jason Sessa out of the lineup, Coach Rick Adduono made a call to Chad Remackel about playing for the Stingrays. Remackel, who drives a cement truck, and wasn’t able to play with the Stingrays for the whole year because he wouldn’t be able to support his wife and children was happy to say yes.

Apparently, it was an intangible Trenton had not counted on. When Trenton played South Carolina in the final meeting before the playoffs, South Carolina was an injury-riddled team, also suffering from 5 call-ups, including Adam Calder to Norfolk, Ryan Brindley to Rochester, and Scott Swanson to Springfield. With so many Stingrays players out, Trenton humiliated the team 8-0. With the addition of Remackel, along with having most of the team back for the playoffs (Hugo Marchand was injured, and Jason Sessa stayed in the AHL), the Stingrays won the cup in 5 games.