Hockey

Requiring cold weather for ice or expensive indoor ice rinks, the sport attracted little interest. This changed during the 1990s when interest in hockey saw unprecedented growth in the state, sparked by the migration of many northerners to the state and the development of roller hockey.

The traditionally Canadian sport of hockey had a minimal presence in South Carolina until the 1990s. Requiring cold weather for ice or expensive indoor ice rinks, the sport attracted little interest. This changed during the 1990s when interest in hockey saw unprecedented growth in the state, sparked by the migration of many northerners to the state and the development of roller hockey. Following close on the heels of this rising interest was the appearance of the state’s first professional minor league hockey team, the South Carolina Stingrays. The Stingrays, who play in North Charleston, joined the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) in 1993 and garnered many fans in the lowcountry. Other ECHL teams soon followed: the Pee Dee Pride in 1997 (renamed the Florence Pride in 2003), the Greenville Grrrowl in 1998, and the Columbia Inferno in 2001. The growth of the ECHL in South Carolina prompted Governor Jim Hodges to declare July 27, 2002, “East Coast Hockey League Day.” Additionally, South Carolina, and the South in general, has seen a corresponding rise in the number of people playing hockey. According to USA Hockey, hockey’s governing body, the number of players in the Southeastern District (which includes twelve states and the District of Columbia) grew from 4,462 in 1990–1991 to 28,662 in 2001–2002, of which 1,292 were in South Carolina. Beginning as a northern transplant with few southern devotees, hockey has gained a substantial following in South Carolina.

Gillespie, Bob. “Hockey (Ice and All) Comes to Charleston.” Columbia State, July 23, 1993, p. C1.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Hockey
  • Author
  • Keywords South Carolina Stingrays, Columbia Inferno, Canada, East Coast Hockey League
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date August 19, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 8, 2022
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