The South Carolina Stingrays, proud ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Washington Capitals and AHL’s Hershey Bears, have agreed to terms with defenseman Jaynen Rissling for the 2019-20 season. Rissling begins his sixth professional year after spending 2018-19 overseas with the Nottingham Panthers in the Elite Ice Hockey League (EIHL) where he posted 19 points in 53 games on three goals and 16 assists along with a +5 rating.
The 6-foot-4, 204-pound native of Edmonton, Alberta has a combined 175 games of ECHL experience, spending time with the Indy Fuel, Wheeling Nailers, Allen Americans and Cincinnati Cyclones during four seasons from 2014-18. In his most recent ECHL campaign, Rissling scored a career-high 30 points on seven goals and 23 assists while appearing in 62 games with the Fuel, Nailers and Americans.
“Jaynen is someone that we can rely on in tons of different facets and in all aspects of the game with his leadership qualities and his experience,” said Stingrays Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations, Steve Bergin. “He’s a bigger body that plays tough and he has some offensive upside. He brings lots of value to the lineup in so many different ways, so we’re really excited to have him.”
Rissling, 25, was originally selected by the Washington Capitals in the 7th round of the 2012 NHL Draft but has only previously played in North Charleston as a visitor.
“The city speaks for itself,” Rissling said. “I always enjoyed going there when we had road trips and it was always the one I’d circle on the calendar.”
In addition to his experience in the ECHL and EIHL, Rissling also played in five AHL games with the Milwaukee Admirals as a rookie during the 2014-15 season.
“He’s going to be a great fit for us as someone that our coaching staff can lean on as well our young guys to see what it takes to be a true pro,” Bergin said. “He’s played in our league for a number of years, he’s played some games in the American Hockey League, and he’s played over in Europe so he’s seen a bunch of different levels and has had some different experiences.”
One person who will be happy to see Rissling in a Stingrays uniform is his uncle Gary, who was a member of the Hershey Bears and Washington Capitals during his 10-year pro career from 1977-87. A career highlight for him came in 1980 when he helped Hershey capture the Calder Cup.
“My uncle’s pretty excited for me,” Rissling said. “It’s great to be one phone call away from Hershey but first and foremost, I’m excited to go to South Carolina.”
The blueliner described himself as someone who takes a lot of pride in his defensive game.
“I’m pretty reliable in the d-zone where I can make a solid first pass to get out of the zone,” Rissling said. “I think my skating has improved a lot over the years where if that pass isn’t there, I can skate to an area and find something or just skate with the puck and get it out. Over the last two or three seasons, I’ve been really trying to work on skating with the puck and skating without the puck, so jumping up in the play to be an option for the forwards. I have the confidence now where I can make a one-on-one move around a guy or try and fake someone out and have the skill to do that successfully.”
Before turning pro, Rissling played 273 games for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen from 2009-2014, which included capturing a WHL Championship in 2010. He also served as the team’s captain in his final season (2013-14).
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.