Hull Stingrays are an
English ice hockey club from
Hull. They were formed in 2003 and play their home
games at Hull
They are currently members of the Elite Ice Hockey League
The Stingrays replaced previous clubs Hull
1999-2002, Kingston Hawks
1996-1998, Humberside Hawks
1993-1995, and Humberside
Seahawks and Hawks, 1988 – 1999
Thunder, 1999 – 2003
The Stingrays were formed in 2003
Hull Thunder as members of the British National League
. The new
owners, Mike and Sue Pack along with Rick Strachan, who served as
head coach through the end of the 2008/09 season, came with a
promise of financial stability.
The initial challenge for the club was to re-establish the belief
that the Hull Arena could host a team playing professional hockey
at all, following a previous history of failed attempts, some
valiant and some best forgotten.
Unfortunately the damage to the sport's credibility in the city was
a burden that was not easily shaken off and some of the fans stayed
away waiting for what they thought was the inevitable to happen.
But the ownership were true to their word and a season was
completed without any of the previous crises that had become common
place. Stability was established and although success on the ice
proved more elusive, as Rick Strachan said at the time "The bus is
moving in the right direction."The team had very much an Eastern
European feel to it and was captained by local idol, Stephen Johnson
, tempted back from a
threatened retirement for one last season. Alongside him the
Ukrainian contingent included a guy who made a huge impact for his
never say die attitude and innovative use of the six words of
English that he had mastered, fans favourite Evgeny Alipov
- 'Big Al'.
So the foundation was in place and with the first objective of
stability secured and confidence building, the club entered the
next season in the BNL keen to apply the lessons learnt and to
start to climb the ratings. Although still very much having to keep
a close eye on the purse strings, the squad had a much stronger
feel to it when the first puck dropped on the 2004/5
Coach Strachan brought in Scott Wray
and Ladislav Kudrna
nets to join Alipov, Nikolaev, Burgess, Gomenyuk as his eight
import contingent and with a strong British content including
, and the Phillips
brothers, hopes were high.
A 'top four finish' was predicted by the coach but this turned out
not to be ambitious enough. Stingrays were overtaken for second
place in the last fortnight by Guildford and Newcastle, the team
made the Winter Cup semi-finals and gained a play-off place.
Amazingly it could have been even better had star defenceman Minard
decided not to quit the club in November leaving a young British
defence to be marshalled by Gomenyuk. Another blow followed when
free-scoring Scott Wray had to return home for personal reasons.
Not surprisingly the replacements proved not to be as effective and
the team's form suffered.
That season was memorable for the 'crossover' competition that
pitched the British National League teams against their bigger
spending, import heavy neighbours in the Elite League. Widely
expected to provide one sided games, the reality was a little
different and most of the games provided sporting contests worthy
of the name.
Although the Stingrays had to endure a couple of bad losses during
this competition they also achieved memorable victories over
Coventry, London and Sheffield at home, and also took the points
off Cardiff on the road. Goalie Kudrna was often the hero and his
performances gained him a place, with Gomenyuk on the BNL All-star
The crossover competition was planned to be a potential pre-cursor
to a closer relationship between the two leagues but, in fact, the
reality was far from that - 2004/5 season proved to be the last for
the British National League.
The Newcastle Vipers and the Edinburgh Capitals decided that their
futures would be more secure in the Elite League leaving the
remaining five clubs having to consider their own futures. The
English clubs made the decision they had to drop to the four import
English Premier League whilst the two remaining Scottish clubs,
Dundee and Fife were left with no alternative than to build their
business in the SNL.
The Stingrays embarked on what was the only viable option and a
team was put together which we thought could be effective in that
league. But with the work permit regulations ruling out re-engaging
any of the Ukrainian core of the previous team, the recruitment was
going to be key. The season proved to be a tough one and although
the club gained a cup-final spot after a memorable 16 shot penalty
shoot out victory over the Guildford Flames the club failed to pick
up the silverware after being edged out by Bracknell.
A young British contingent struggled against some of the more
experienced and mature squads and the mid-table slot felt an under
achievement following the previous years progress.
The Packs were unhappy playing their team in the Premier League.
Travelling costs were significant for the predominantly south east
based league and spectator numbers fell. After the end of the
2005-06 season, the Stingrays sought admission into the Elite Ice Hockey League
application was finally approved after weeks of speculation on
22 June 2006
have a representative in the top-flight division of British Ice Hockey for the first time since the Humberside
Hawks played in the Premier Division of the British Hockey League in the 1995-96
In the first four years of its life, the club was in
the unique position of competing in all three of the country's
senior leagues and it is a major achievement that Hull hockey has
moved on and can now provide the supporter with a view of the best
Ice Hockey teams and the best players in the land.
The Stingrays had a tough start to their life in the EIHL
as they fought to the death for a playoff place,
eventually finishing 9th as their decision to opt with a mix of
their old Eastern European style with several Canadians ultimately
did not pay off.
In 2007 Lifetime Sports Ltd
Hull Stingrays parent company, established itself as a Community
Interest Company. This means that it is a non-profit making
organisation dedicated to providing services and facilities to the
community in which it operates, that being, Hull, Humberside and
the East Riding.
For the 2007-2008 season Rick Strachan once again decided to change
his signing policy, this time ditching the Eastern European, and
predominantly Ukrainian approach, by signing North Americans such
as Bryce Thoma
, Paul Cabana
, Brad Patterson
, Jake Riddle
. Once again the Stingrays failed to make a consistent
impact on the league as they finished in 10th, and last place, 5
points behind 9th placed Basingstoke
The Stingrays once again finished outside the playoffs in
2008-2009, missing out on the post season by seven points, for the
third year in a row. At the end of the season, Stingrays coach,
Rick Strachan, was asked to step down. Stingrays co-owners Sue and
Mike Pack cited financial reasons for the departure of Strachan,
who was eventually replaced by Sylvain
on 9 April 2009
. Rick Strachan remains a director of the club.
Cloutier is backed up by former team-mate Curtis Huppe
as Assistant Coach, and both will
Club Roster 09/10
||Place of Birth
||Calgary, Alberta, Canada
||Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
||Athens, Ontario, Canada
- Includes honours achieved under previous names.
Other Hull Teams