As the North Charleston cheered and waived goodbye to their South Carolina Stingrays for the season after their 5-2 loss that eliminated them from the playoffs, there was one goodbye that left a mark.
Patrick Gaul left the ice for most likely the final time as a Stingray after 7 years with the team.
The usually calm, cool, and collected Gaul then made his way to the media for one last interview.
He appeared the same as always: light-hearted and cracking jokes.
However once he had a chance to reflect, the emotions took over.
“Kind of speechless. This place meant a lot to me,” said Gaul.
As the Stingrays tried to overcome a three goal deficit in the final minutes, Gaul himself was playing for much more as he tried to soak in every last moment on the Coliseum ice.
“My dad always said to play every shift like your last……and I finally got to my last one,” said a tear-filled Gaul.
His impact is felt throughout the locker room and maybe not more evident than with Andrew Cherniwchan.
The two met seven years ago and have played together in South Carolina ever since.
“He’s just been somebody that just everybody leans on all seven years. Proud to call him a friend. Losing sucks even more for him,” said Cherniwchan.
It is common to think that when a player leaves a team or retires from the game that they will miss the on-ice elements the most but for Gaul, it was the little moments between the brotherhood that will always stay with him.
“The locker room….just stupid conversations that we have together. Arguing over some of the dumbest stuff that I can’t say right now and I love blocking shots and scoring goals. Definitely did more of the former than the latter. Just lvoed playing here,” said Gaul.