CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS – Former Corpus Christi IceRays goaltender Anthony Stolarz (‘11-’12) will make his National Hockey League (NHL) debut tonight with the Philadelphia Flyers, confirmed by Flyers coach David Hakstol. Stolarz will become the second player in junior franchise history to play in the NHL and the first to start as a goaltender.
Stolarz, 22, came on to the national scene with the IceRays during the 2011-12 season, earning a 23-22-4 record with a 2.84 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage with three shutouts through 50 games played. The Jackson, N.J. product currently holds the IceRays junior franchise record for wins by a goaltender for a single-season and shares the lead for career goaltender wins while sitting second in save percentage. After that season, Stolarz was ranked fourth by NHL Central Scouting for North American goaltenders and drafted 45th overall (2nd Round) by the Flyers in the 2012 NHL Draft, becoming the first player in franchise history to be drafted.
After two seasons with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), the 6-foot-6, 232-pound goaltender joined the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Flyers in the 2014-15 season. Since joining the professional ranks, Stolarz has been recalled seven times by the Flyers and backed up other goaltenders for 26 games and was named to the AHL All-Star Classic during the 2015-16 season. He owns a 36-33-11 record with a 2.80 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage with three shutouts in his 86-game professional career with the Phantoms. Through eight games this season, Stolarz has recorded a 6-2-0 record with a 2.39 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage with one shutout, which is on pace to set new career-highs in all categories.
Stolarz joins Pheonix Copley (‘10-’11) as the only two players from the junior franchise to make an appearance in the NHL. Copley became the first player in junior franchise history to play in the NHL on Feb. 27, 2016 with the St. Louis Blues, playing 24:26 minutes of relief while saving five of six shots in a 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. The two also join forward Ryan Garbutt (‘09-’10) of the Anaheim Ducks as the only three players in the 19-year history of the IceRays to play in the NHL. He will become the first goaltender from the state of New Jersey to play in the NHL in the league’s 99-year history.
“What an honor this is to have another IceRay play in the NHL,” said IceRays General Manager Pat Dunn. “I exchanged texts with Anthony today and told him how proud of him we are here in Corpus Christi. His reply was that this is where his journey began and how this was one of the most fun hockey seasons he’s played. Today is a great day for all of us, from his former coach Justin Quenneville to his former teammates and all of the IceRays fans.
“I also told [Stolarz] to enjoy the moment because he’s one of the very few that can say they played in the best league in the world, and no one will be able to take that away from him. Here’s a message to all players that’s written on a banner that hangs in the American Bank Center with his picture on it: follow your dreams!”
Stolarz and the Flyers host the Calgary Flames tonight at 6:30 p.m. CST from Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn. Coverage is available in the Philadelphia area on CSN Philly (TV) as well as on 97.5 The Fanatic (radio) and in Calgary at 5:30 p.m. MST on Sportsnet West (TV) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN (radio). Out-of-market coverage is offered through NHL.TV, the official pay-per-view streaming service of the NHL, and consists of both home and road broadcast options.
The IceRays continue their six-game home stand Season memberships for the 2016-17 season are still available with full and partial season plans. Reserve yours by contacting the IceRays Front Office at 361-814-PUCK. In addition, stay connected with the IceRays on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), YouTube (IceRays TV), Instagram (CorpusChristiIceRays), Snapchat (@goicerays), and Periscope (@goicerays).