Corpus Christi IceRays
- This article is about the current Corpus Christi IceRays NAHL franchise. For the original WPHL/CHL franchise of same name, see: Corpus Christi IceRays (1998–2010).
|Corpus Christi IceRays|
|City||Corpus Christi, Texas|
|Home arena||American Bank Center|
Red, black, white|
|General manager||Michael Wood (2018–19)|
|Head coach||Ryan Cruthers (2018–19)|
|2010–present||Corpus Christi IceRays|
The Corpus Christi IceRays are a Tier II junior ice hockey team playing in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The IceRays are based in Corpus Christi, Texas, and play in the North American Hockey League's South Division. The "IceRays" moniker derives from the many different species of stingrays that inhabit the nearby Gulf of Mexico.
The franchise originally joined the NAHL as the Pittsburgh Forge from 2001 to 2003. They relocated to Toledo, Ohio, and became the Toldeo IceDiggers from 2003 to 2005. They then became the Alpena IceDiggers, playing in the Northern Lights Arena located in Alpena, Michigan, from 2005 to 2010.
The original IceRays organization was established in 1998 and played in the minor-professional Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) from 1998 to 2001 and the Central Hockey League from 2001 to 2010. Following the 2009–10 season, the IceRays' ownership purchased the IceDiggers franchise and transferred the IceRays' name, logo, colors, management, and coaching staff to the NAHL franchise before folding their CHL franchise. The new IceRays junior franchise played their first game on September 15, 2010, against the Traverse City North Stars at the NAHL Showcase, falling 1–0. The IceRays played their first junior game at the American Bank Center on October 1, 2010, against the Wichita Falls Wildcats, winning 4–3 in a shootout.
During the 2011–12 season, IceRays goaltender Anthony Stolarz was scouted heavily by the National Hockey League (NHL), ending the season fourth in the NHL Central Scouting List among North American goaltenders. On June 23, 2012, Stolarz became the first player in IceRays junior franchise history to be drafted by a NHL franchise, joining the Philadelphia Flyers as the 45th overall pick (2nd Round).
After just three seasons in the NAHL, the IceRays earned their first playoff bid during the 2012–13 season, finishing with a 28–26–6 record and fourth in the South Division under former head coach and professional player, Justin Quenneville. The IceRays won their first playoff game on April 5, 2013, against the Amarillo Bulls in a 2–1 road victory before falling in three-straight games to drop the best-of-five series. Following that season, Quenneville stepped down as head coach after two years at the helm, making way for new hire John Becanic to take over for the next three seasons.
The IceRays set multiple franchise records during the 2014–15 season, marking the best record in junior franchise history at 31–24–5 and their second appearance in the Robertson Cup Playoffs. The team would fall in two-straight games at the American Bank Center to the Wenatchee Wild in the South Division Quarterfinals, 3–2 (SO) and 3–2, respectively. On Feb. 7, 2015, the IceRays set a junior franchise record for the highest attendance as well as a league attendance mark, bringing in 6,965 fans during the annual Stars & Stripes Night, honoring military, first responders and law enforcement.
In the 2015–16 season, the IceRays set one more junior franchise milestone thanks to former goaltender Pheonix Copley. On Feb. 27, 2016, the 24-year-old replaced St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen with 4:26 remaining in the second period, marking the first player in junior franchise history to earn playing time in the NHL.
On June 30, 2016, the IceRays hired former assistant coach Brad Flynn as the team’s fourth head coach in junior franchise history. Flynn left after the 2017–18 season to become an assistant coach with the Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League. He was replaced by Ryan Cruthers, who had been with the Chicago Steel the previous season.
|2003–04||56||13||38||5||31||146||243||1,375||6th, North||Did not qualify|
|2004–05||56||18||35||3||39||149||234||1,424||6th, North||Did not qualify|
|2005–06||58||13||38||7||33||147||260||1,339||5th, North||Did not qualify|
|2006–07||62||37||20||5||79||232||194||1,447||2nd, North||Lost 1st Round, 0–3 vs. Team USA|
|2007–08||58||30||23||5||65||184||177||969||3rd, North||Lost 1st Round, 0–3 vs. Mahoning Valley Phantoms|
|2008–09||58||27||25||6||60||157||184||1,125||4th, North||Lost 1st Round, 1–3 vs. Team USA|
|2009–10||58||22||34||2||46||169||201||1,555||5th, North||Did not qualify|
|Corpus Christi IceRays|
|2010–11||58||19||34||5||43||158||238||2,079||5th, South||Did not qualify|
|2011–12||60||26||29||5||57||169||199||1,170||5th, South||Did not qualify|
|2012–13||60||28||26||6||62||194||200||1441||4th, South||Lost Div. Semifinals, 1–3 vs. Amarillo Bulls|
|2013–14||60||19||31||10||38||124||178||1386||6th, South||Did not qualify|
|2014–15||60||31||24||5||67||186||196||1348||3rd of 8, South||Lost South Play-in Series, 0–2 vs. Wenatchee Wild|
|2015–16||60||25||29||6||56||139||170||1145||5th of 6, South||Did not qualify|
|2016–17||60||32||19||9||73||183||155||1290||3rd of 7, South||Won Div. Semifinals, 3–0 vs. Shreveport Mudbugs|
Lost Div. Finals, 2–3 vs. Lone Star Brahmas
|2017–18||60||27||23||10||64||160||177||1302||4th of 6, South||Lost Div. Semifinals, 2–3 vs. Shreveport Mudbugs|
- "IceRays set to move to the NAHL". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. May 21, 2010.
- "FLYERS PICK STOLARZ IN 2ND ROUND OF NHL DRAFT | NAHL: Corpus Christi IceRays". goicerays.pointstreaksites.com. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
- "ICERAYS BEATEN BY BRAHMAS, 5–3 | NAHL: Corpus Christi IceRays". goicerays.pointstreaksites.com. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
- firstname.lastname@example.org, Tim O'Donnell,. "North Pole native Pheonix Copley makes NHL debut". Retrieved 2016-07-21.
- "Western Hockey League's Rebels Swipe Flynn from IceRays". JuniorHockey.com. May 7, 2018.
- "Ryan Cruthers Named IceRays Head Coach". OurSportsCentral.com. May 30, 2018.