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Patrick Gaul Returns to Stingrays for 7th Season

July 14, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - South Carolina Stingrays News Release

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Washington Capitals and AHL's Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with forward Patrick Gaul for the 2018-19 season. Gaul is fifth all-time in regular season games played with South Carolina, having suited up for 341 contests with the club during the past six years. His 153 total points on 57 goals and 96 assists also rank 15th in club history.

"With how last season ended, the three years prior we had such good deep playoff runs and to go out after getting swept by a team that I felt we probably should have beat, it didn't feel right ending that way," said Gaul. "I still love playing the game and I still love competing so I've got at least one more year back with the Rays and I'm looking forward to getting the season going."

The longest-tenured member of the Stingrays, Gaul returns to the Lowcountry for his seventh professional year after suiting up for 64 games in 2017-18 and posting 29 points on 11 goals and 18 assists. Before that, Gaul scored a career-high 37 points on 11 goals and 26 assists during the 2016-17 regular season. The four-year alternate captain has also seen action in a total of 50 postseason games over the last six campaigns.

"We're very excited to get Gaulsy back," said Stingrays Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations Ryan Warsofsky. "He's a guy that's been here for seven pro seasons and knows exactly what this organization is all about on and off the ice. He's a great guy in our community, and he's great on the ice as a penalty killer and a third line center who can play the wing or go up on the second line when we get thin.

"He knows exactly what he is, plays extremely hard every single night and he's part of that culture we need here so that when these younger kids come up they know exactly what it means to be a South Carolina Stingray. We expressed interest in having him come back at the end of the season and I know he needed to think about it a little bit. We're happy that he's going to suit up again for us because he's a really big, important piece."

The Pittsburgh, Pa. native was also fourth on the team last year with a +11 rating and has been a positive plus-minus player in each of his seasons, totaling a +63 during his time in SC. Always known as a fan-favorite, Gaul has played a key role on South Carolina's penalty kill, which finished first in the ECHL last season for the third time in the last four years. The Stingrays allowed just 27 goals while down a man last season, which was the lowest number in league history.

"We don't have Patrick Gaul on our team to score 25 goals, he's there to be our best penalty killer and the best penalty killer in the league," Warsofsky said. "He's a quiet leader who leads by example. It's important to get a player that's been around this city and can take a new guy under his wing, bring him to lunch and show him the beaches and downtown. He's an extension of the coaching staff to an extent and a really important piece for us to get to where we want to go."

The 28-year-old played his collegiate hockey at Notre Dame from 2008-12 and was also honored as the 2015 Jerry Zucker Community Service Award winner for his dedication to the Lowcountry community. Most recently, the forward was chosen by his peers at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season as the Professional Hockey Players' Association (PHPA) Heart, Hustle, Desire Award winner for the ECHL's Eastern Conference. The honor is presented to one player who is considered by their peers to be the hardest working in their respective League's Conference, demonstrating heart, hustle, and desire each and every night, both on and off the ice.

Gaul is the sixth forward and the eighth player overall to sign with South Carolina for 2018-19, as well as the third returner from 2017-18 joining forward Tad Kozun and defender Mike Chen. More player signings will be announced in the coming days and weeks.

The 26th season of South Carolina Stingrays hockey begins in Jacksonville against the Icemen on October 13. The Stingrays will open their home schedule vs. Greenville on Saturday, October 20.

Season tickets are on sale now! For more information or to purchase, contact the Stingrays by phone at 843-744-2248 or visit 3300 W. Montague Ave. Suite A-200 during business hours.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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