SC Stingrays fire head coach Ryan Blair

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- The South Carolina Stingrays are parting ways with head coach Ryan Blair, the team announced Monday.

Blair led the minor-league hockey team to the ECHL’s Kelly Cup finals last year, but the Stingrays have faced trouble this season, currently sitting in last place in the ECHL with a record of 18-30-6.

“It has been a very challenging season and it is time for a change,” Stingrays President Rob Concannon said. “We would like to thank Ryan for his hard work with the South Carolina Stingrays organization over the past three years and wish him nothing but the best.”

Blair served as an assistant coach in the 2019-2020 season and in two years as head coach had a record of 52-50-19.

The team announced that assistant coach Brenden Kotyk will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Kotyk, a native of Regina, Saskatchewan, played three years of professional hockey before joining the Stingrays organization last year as an assistant coach. The former defender spent 2018-2020 with the Toledo Walleye, appearing in 50 games each campaign.

He began his pro-career in 2017-2018 with the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack and also spent time in the ECHL with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

Ryan Bourque, who played nine years of professional hockey, will serve as interim assistant coach.

The Stingrays return with a home game on March 11 against the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.