On Thursday September 3rd, the South Carolina Stingrays announced the signing of American forward Justin Florek. The two sides agreed to terms on a standard player contract for the upcoming season. Florek is set to begin his ninth pro season this year in the low country. He comes to the ECHL following stints in the EBEL, DEL, AHL and NHL.
Most recently, Florek spent this past season overseas in Austria with EHC Linz. He did so in the EBEL where he racked up eight goals along with 17 assists. This made for 25 points in which he recorded through 48 games. With a Plus/Minus rating of -10, he also added 42 penalty minutes.
“Justin is a huge addition to our Stingrays forward group,” said Ryan Blair, head coach of the Stingrays. “He comes to us with a ton of experience at the AHL level and will be a huge asset in terms of leadership. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Justin as a player and person, and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to Charleston.”
The 6’4 native of Michigan makes his return to North America after three seasons playing hockey in Europe. This saw him split time during his stay between the Iserlohn Roosters and EHC Linz. While hitting the ice in Iserlohn, Florek recorded 19 goals along with 23 assists for 42 points. He did so in 103 games.
With a Plus/Minus rating of -14, he also added 44 penalty minutes. Florek also served as captain in 2018-19, his second year with the Roosters.
To go with his time in Europe, Florek amassed 62 goals along with 88 assists in the AHL. He did so in 372 games between the Providence Bruins, Milwaukee Admirals and Bridgeport Sound Tigers. This made for 150 career points to go alongside a Plus/Minus rating of +30. He also amassed 142 penalty minutes. In his brief time with the Boston Bruins, Florek took the ice in four games where he racked up one goal and one assist for two points.
Florek won’t be a stranger though this season to the affiliate of the Washington Capitals. While playing college hockey at Northern Michigan, as well as in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, Florek, who stands at 6’4, took the ice with current Stingrays captain and good friend, Andrew Cherniwchan.
The team’s hope for Florek this season is that the veteran can continue to use that big size of his to be both a presence and force on the ice this season. Along with this, the Stingrays hope that Florek and Cherniwchan can re-kindle that one-two connection they shared in college and in the AHL.