An Open Letter from Todd Halloran, Principal Owner of the South Carolina Stingrays
When I assumed principal ownership of the South Carolina Stingrays approximately 15 months ago, I knew that I had big shoes to fill and certainly understood the enormous responsibility and privilege to oversee an organization that has been so successful over the years. It has been an exhilarating, and at times, humbling experience. But I know that as an organization, we have accomplished a tremendous amount in the past year.
We could not have accomplished an unprecedented 26th winning season without the passion and undeniable support of our Stingray fans. You are what make us great! I also want to recognize the assistance of our affiliates, the Hershey Bears and the Washington Capitals (representing the second longest affiliation relationship in the ECHL), the guidance of my minority partner, the Zucker Family, and the dedication and hard work of our players, coaching staff, medical staff and our front office.
I am very proud of the Stingrays organization for winning, for the first time in its history, the ECHL Team of Excellence Award at last month's League Summer Meetings in Las Vegas. This award is presented to the organization that has shown the most overall improvement in the areas of ticket revenue, fan experience, corporate partnerships, marketing and community engagement. It was a true honor to win this award, and I commend Rob Concannon, Derek Goldfarb and the rest of the front office for a job well-done.
Despite an up and down season and an early exit from the playoffs, we were pleased to have a competitive team on the ice and contribute to the development of several young players. Our attendance was up 8%, and we had our highest average attendance per game in 10 years. We had some absolutely phenomenal events including our home opener with the Stanley Cup, Military Appreciation Night, Pink in the Rink and the inaugural Education Day just to name a few. During these special evenings, we "packed the house" and helped raise or donate on behalf of the Stingrays approximately $200,000 for various worthy causes including Charleston Warriors Sled Hockey, Share Our Suzy, Dorchester Paws, Trident Literacy Association and One SC Fund.
But we are just beginning and still have a lot more to accomplish and improve upon.
To be clear, we are committed to:
1. Expanding the fan base within the Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties (and beyond) that make up the lion's share of our current and potential fans.
2. Improving the fan experience by ensuring we have a winning team on the ice and by introducing new concepts and exciting fan engagement.
3. Ensuring we have strong relationships with our NHL and AHL affiliates and doing what we can to continue to improve our hockey team. We strive to have a highly skilled, fast, physical, hard-working team and coaches that understand our culture, work ethic, communication style and commitment to winning.
4. Expanding and improving our corporate partnerships and relationships with local businesses, youth organizations, charitable organizations and other affinity groups.
5. Increasing our presence in the community as an organization and through our players as one of the Charleston area's greatest assets.
I did not assume principal ownership of this team to settle for the status quo, but rather to recapture and grow your trust, your interest and your enthusiasm for a wonderful game and a compelling and entertaining experience. That means we will try new things, make changes and seek a better way, some of which may not always work. But we want to be open, flexible and creative. I vow to work harder, leverage our relationships and partnerships and continue to invest in key areas of our organization. As the new principal owner, you should know that I am not satisfied and I accept nothing less than excellent performance on and off the ice.
But we continue to need your help in spreading the word of how exciting and fulfilling it is to attend a Stingrays game, bring family and friends, and entertain employees and customers. We appreciate the support the City of North Charleston and the North Charleston Coliseum have provided and we continue to explore ways to grow the partnership. Finally, we are grateful for the support of local businesses and other community groups and we hope to strengthen those relationships as well.
Looking ahead to this upcoming season, there are a lot of exciting developments in store:
- The hard work of our new head coach Steve Bergin and the continued cooperation with our affiliates to help us with the signings of popular returning players and several new talented players
- Our new white jerseys designed to match our NHL affiliate, the Washington Capitals, were well received and represent not just a cosmetic change, but also an acknowledgement of our history with the Caps while also bringing something new and different to our team
- Behind the scenes enhancements such as a renovated locker room and new technology-based tools for our player development, and other investments in people and technology
- Improved merchandise and digital presence, and enhanced pre-game and in-game entertainment
- New enhancements on the ice including video instant replay to determine if the puck completely crossed the goal line, and an increase in the 3v3 overtime period from 5 minutes to 7 minutes to potentially drive outcomes before a shootout is required, which will also build fan excitement and engagement
Finally, the South Carolina Stingrays have a winning tradition, a proud legacy and a prominent role in our community. It is a daunting task to uphold the traditions and improve upon its great success, but I commit to you that we will do exactly that. And if you think we have been lacking in our effort, in our execution, in our audacious ambition to be the most compelling form of business and family entertainment in the area, to be an effective forum for facilitating and promoting worthy philanthropic causes, AND to win our fourth Kelly Cup Championship, I encourage you to make your voice heard and engage with me and my staff when you see us in the community or on the concourse at the Coliseum.
I look forward to seeing everyone at our home opener on October 19th (or for those road warriors, in Orlando on the 12th for the first game of the season)! Thank you very much for your support and we look forward to an exciting and successful 2019-2020 season. Go Stingrays!!
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