Rays coach walks away from NHL path to prep hockey

MT.{}PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) -- Like many former Stingrays, Cail Maclean makes his home in the Lowcountry. When he's off the ice there is no place he'd rather spend his blazing hot summers.{}

"It says a lot about the area. People who are part of the Rays organization have stayed for the town they live in and for the way they were treated in the organization," said Maclean.

For the years he spent in Charleston, from gritty captain to Kelly Cup winning assistant coach, to his first head coaching job, it wasn't easy for Maclean to leave. In 2011, he did leave after taking a job in Abbotsford, British Columbia in the AHL, one step from the NHL.{}

"The experience was great on the professional side. It was an excellent experience and leadership from my head coach Troy Ward, I can't say enough about what I learned professionally," he said.

For Maclean, that professional track was not everything. He was so close to attaining the ultimate goal of making the NHL, but decided to make a career 360.

"This is an opportunity to put family first, have a good career and stay involved in something I really love. We'll see where it goes," said the Nova Scotia native.{}

Maclean left his job as an assistant coach with the Abbotsford Heat to take the head girls hockey coaching job at Kimball Union, a private high school in New Hampshire.{}

"I expect it to be different. I worked with girls at camps and clinics and different areas, but I never coached a girls team. I have a lot of respect for them as athletes and team players so I think that side I'll be happy with the way they're willing to work,"{} Maclean said.

It's a decision that Maclean is confident in.{}

"It's difficult in one sense, in another sense, it wasn't difficult. I try to look at what I do, I think it's important for myself, my wife, Keri, and my daughter, Ashton. Taking those things into consideration, it was a fairly easy decision," he said.

Cail Maclean now leaves the Lowcountry for a whole new world, again, but certainly holds close the experiences of his professional hockey past.{}

"If life turns out that I do go back in the NHL direction and it's right, great. I don't look upon it with distaste but I'm excited about what we're doing as a family,"{} he said.

He'll always feel at home on the rink and in the Lowcountry. He'll always feel at home behind the bench, wherever it is and whatever level it may be.

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