Home: Hull Arena, Kingston-Upon-Hull, Yorkshire
Colours: White, Yellow, Blue
The Hull Stingrays may not be regarded as the most glamorous club in the EIHL but they are side that has come through against adversity to survive at the top level.
Like their Scottish counterparts in Edinburgh and Dundee the Stingrays represent the latest incarnation of ice hockey in the city of Hull. The Stingrays predecessors date back to 1988 when the Humberside Seahawks became members of the British league. Since then until 2003 though there were many changes including the name and the ownership.
In 2003 the Hull Thunder were bought out by the Peck family and became the Hull Stingrays replacing the Thunder in the British National League. Following the collapse of the BNL 2005 the Stingrays moved to the English Premier League. It was not a popular move with the increased travel involved and lower standard of hockey. After one season the forward looking Peck family applied for membership of the Elite League in 2006. The Stingrays took to the ice in the EIHL that September and became the first British team to play in 3 senior levels of the sport.
It was a difficult first two seasons for the Stingrays who missed the playoffs both years finishing 9th and 10th but in 2010 the Stingrays finished 8th and made the playoffs for the first time. It was short-lived success however.
In August of that year just weeks before the start of the season the Peck family closed the club down stating the club was not financially viable and it took a rescue package from the Coventry Blaze to resurrect the club in time for the new season. Despite playing 10 games in 20 days to finish the season in order to make up for missing the start the Stingrays recorded their best ever season. They finished the season in 7th place and made the playoffs.
That good form carried over into the preseason for the 2011 – 2012 season as the side picked up the P&O Ferries Cup for a tournament victory against the Coventry Blaze and Dutch sides the Tilburg Trappers and the Geleen Eaters. That promise did not quite show through into the season as the Stingrays endured a torrid start to the season before picking some points to currently occupy the last playoff spot.
The Hull Stingrays are a club that has persevered through difficult financial situations to produce a team on the ice every season that has at least been competitive. They are proof that whilst not a high-flying glamour side or a traditional hockey town that ice hockey has a following in the UK. In many ways the Hull Stingrays show why there is a need for reform in the EIHL in order to help them and other teams on a tiny budget to compete a little bit easier.
The future perhaps is not clear with the money problems in Coventry but the Stingrays have been in the same situation before and come through it.
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