Rays Add AHL Experience to Defense with Tom Parisi
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 defenseman Tom Parisi for the 2019-20 season. During his professional career, Parisi has played 121 AHL games in the Montreal Canadians organization with the Laval Rocket and St. John's IceCaps.
The 26-year-old was also part of Providence College's NCAA National Championship winning team in 2015 and later captained the squad as a senior during the 2015-16 season.
After seeing time in 71 AHL contests with Laval in 2017-18, Parisi decided not to play professionally during the 2018-19 season. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound blueliner is now ready to make his return to the ice with South Carolina.
"We think Tom should be an elite player at this level," said Stingrays Head Coach Steve Bergin. "He can skate really well, he's good on the power play, makes a good first pass, was a captain in college and has some good experience at the American League level. He's a guy that we're going to rely on in all situations not only on the ice but off the ice as well. Any time you can add someone with experience like that and the type of player he is, it's huge for your team."
Parisi earned 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) with Laval in 2017-18 and posted nine points (one goal, eight assists) in 45 contests as a member of St. John's in 2016-17.
"I've heard the whole community in South Carolina is excellent and the fans are really great," Parisi said. I'm really looking forward to getting down there and being welcomed by everyone, integrating myself into the community, winning some games and getting to know people in the Charleston area."
At Providence, Parisi totaled 144 games from 2012-16 and helped produce 55 points of offense on 12 goals and 43 assists.
The blueliner said that after he initially took some time away from the game, he felt that he had more to give.
"I think at the time last year I was just kind of burnt out and I needed to step away for a bit," Parisi said. "After some deep thought the last 6-8 months, I was wrestling with the idea of coming back and felt that I had some gas left in the tank to keep going. The Stingrays were a great opportunity to do that and be in Charleston, a great city that's got some history. I've also had a couple buddies play in Charleston that have said nothing but great things about the team and Coach Bergin and that's what helped me make the decision to come back."
In addition, Bergin gave Parisi confidence by not showing any worry about Parisi's season away from hockey.
"It wasn't a concern of mine because people take time off for injuries all the time and they come back the next year and they're fine," said Bergin. "He has stayed in shape and has continued skating. There might be a little bit of an adjustment period but I don't expect it to be anything that's going to hold him back."
"We have experience with that with Steve Whitney who took an entire year off before coming to us. He scored two goals in his first game back and was probably our best forward all year so that might be the reason why we have that comfort level bringing in a guy that's coming out of retirement, but any time you can add someone with a resume like that and with the ceiling he has, I think you have to pull the trigger.
That was all Parisi needed to hear from his new coach to make his decision.
"I appreciated the fact that he didn't have any reservations about stopping for a year, it's not really a big deal, guys go down for a year for injuries and what not and the things I've heard about him is that he's a really good guy, a good coach, and someone that cares about his players."
Parisi is a product of the Long Island Gulls and New York Bobcats programs and also played prep school hockey at the Portledge School. The Commack, N.Y. native also played for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs during the 2011-12 season before enrolling at Providence.
The 27th season of Stingrays hockey begins in Orlando against the Solar Bears on October 12. The Stingrays will open their home schedule in North Charleston vs. Orlando the following week on Saturday, October 19.
Season tickets are on sale now! For more information or to purchase, contact the Stingrays by phone at 843-744-2248.
Single game tickets for all 2019-20 Stingrays home games are also on sale now via Ticketmaster and the North Charleston Coliseum Box Office.
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