August 12, 2022

Washington Capitals Announce Affiliation Agreement with Reading Royals

Coach Larry Courville of the new Reading affiliate – Washington Capitals Development Camp Day 2 Scrimmage at Kettler, 7/10/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Team Press Release:

Capitals Announce Affiliation Agreement with Reading Royals

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have agreed to an affiliation agreement with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

“We are very pleased to announce our new ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals,” said McPhee. “The Royals are a first-class organization where our prospects will be playing in an environment that will help them develop to their ultimate potential. We feel the proximity to both Washington and our AHL affiliate in Hershey will be beneficial to all three clubs. We would like to thank the South Carolina Stingrays and their fans for their support over the last eight seasons.”

The Royals finished the 2011-12 campaign with a record of 36-28-4-4 under head coach and director of hockey operations Larry Courville. Courville played 33 career NHL games with Vancouver and appeared in 49 games with the Hershey Bears in 2001-02. He finished his playing career in 2007-08 while playing for the Reading Royals. Reading has made the playoffs in six of its 11 seasons in the ECHL, finishing first in its division twice.

“This affiliation agreement kicks off a new era of Royals’ hockey,” said Royals general manager Mark Wallace. “The Capitals have a deep tradition of success and a proven track record of identifying and developing young talent. The history of success of professional hockey in Hershey is simply legendary. We look forward to working with the Capitals and Bears as we all seek to strengthen and grow our sport in Central Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake region. We believe that fans in Reading are going to have a unique opportunity to closely follow the development of prospects within this system, while being treated to an exceptional quality of play which we trust will translate into winning games in Reading.”

A number of current Capitals have spent time in the ECHL, including goaltenders Braden Holtby, an ECHL All-Star who played in South Carolina during the 2009-10 season, and Michal Neuvirth, who was named an ECHL All-Star during the 2008-09 season while with South Carolina.

The Royals, who are entering the team’s 12th season in Reading, had a previous affiliation with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings from 2001-2008. From 2008-09 through 2011-12, the Royals were affiliated with the Toronto Maple Leafs and, beginning in 2009-10, the Royals added a secondary affiliation with the Boston Bruins. Reading plays its home games at the Sovereign Center in Reading, Pa., which holds a capacity of 7,160.

Courville will be in attendance at the Capitals Prospect Development Camp which begins today and runs through Saturday, July 14, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

CAPS: South Carolina Stingrays Advance to ECHL Eastern Conference Semifinals

The South Carolina Stingrays advance to the ECHL Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Kalamazoo Wings.

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CAPS/STINGRAYS: Philipp Grubauer Named to ECHL All-Rookie Team

South Carolina Stingrays’ Goaltender Philipp Grubauer continues to build on his impressive rookie year as he has been named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team. The South Carolina Stingrays are the ECHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals.

Philipp Grubauer at Capitals Training Camp (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Grubauer, 20, skated in 43 games with the Stingrays this season going 23-13-5 and ranks third in the ECHL with a 2.22 goals-against average, fifth with 2,536 minutes played, tied for fifth in wins and tied for sixth with a .918 save percentage. The Rosenheim, Germany, native was also named the Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week (October 31-November 6), ECHL Goaltender of the Month (November) and the Reebok Hockey ECHL Rookie of the Month (January).

A fourth-round selection (112th overall) by the Capitals in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Grubauer spent the three previous seasons in the Ontario Hockey League with Belleville, Windsor and Kingston compiling a record of 52-36-10 in 105 contests.

Grubauer named ECHL Rookie of the Month for January

Philipp Grubauer continues to build on his impressive rookie year, as this week the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) named him the Reebok Hockey Rookie of the Month for January. Grubauer played in nine of the South Carolina Stingray’s 13 games in January, going 7-1-0 with one shutout, a 1.66 Goals Against Average, and a .935 Save Percentage during that span. The Stingrays went 11-2-0 in January.

Philipp Grubauer at Capitals Training Camp (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Earlier this season, Grubauer was named Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week (Oct. 31-Nov. 6), and was the ECHL’s Goaltender of the Month for November.

Grubauer should expect another heavy workload in February — goaltending partner Daren Machesney sustained a groin injury during a game on Sunday, and will be out for an “extended period of time,” according to Stingrays trainer D.J. Church. Coach Spencer Carbery later confirmed that Machesney is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

While Machesney is on the mend, the Stingrays dealt for goaltender Billy Sauer from the Florida Everblades Wednesday in exchange for future considerations. The Stingrays opted for a trade instead of signing an emergency back-up goaltender due to the length of time Machesney is expected to be out.

“The injury was such that we couldn’t rely on an emergency back-up for a long period of time,” Carbery told the Charleston Post & Courier. “We’ve seen Billy play and he’s someone that we’re confident can get the job done when he’s called upon.”

Grubauer is expected to get most of the starts while Machesney heals, but luckily for the Stingrays, Grubauer relishes pressure situations. “I prepare to play every game like I’m the starter,” Grubauer said this week.

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