The Orlando Solar Bears announced today that they have agreed to terms with former Solar Bears D Ryan Blair, F Michael Neal, F Kyle Beattie, and D Joe Marciano. In addition, the club has agreed to terms with Florida native F Ian Slater (Satellite Beach, FL).
Blair (6’4″, 209 lbs.) served as an Alternate Captain during the 2012-13 campaign and returns for his second season with the Solar Bears and third of his ECHL career. He played 56 games with Orlando last season, scoring three goals and adding 12 assists for 15 points, including the game winning goal in a 6-4 victory over the Trenton Titans on February 2. Blair was awarded the Dan Snyder Memorial Award last season, given out to the player that demonstrates a commitment to hard work, perseverance, and dedication to the Solar Bears. The Ashburn, VA, native split the 2011-12 season, his first as a pro, among the Cincinnati Cyclones, Toledo Walleye, and Reading Royals, playing 56 games with four points (1 goal, 3 assists).
Neal (6’2″, 187 lbs.) joined the Solar Bears in mid-December last year and collected 12 goals and 20 assists for 32 points, fifth best on the team, in 46 games. He had a five-point game (2 goals, 3 assists) against the Wheeling Nailers on January 17 and collected a hat trick against the Florida Everblades on March 26. Before coming to Orlando, the Whitby, Ontario, native played three seasons with the Idaho Steelheads and Texas Stars (AHL). In 166 games with Idaho, he had 18 goals and 37 assists for 55 points while in 22 games in the AHL he has notched three goals. Neal was drafted in the fifth round, #149 overall, by the Dallas Stars in the 2007 NHL Draft.
“I am very excited to be coming back to a great city and great organization,” said Neal. “It was an easy decision to return. As a player, you are always looking to improve your skills and the Solar Bears organization is an excellent place to develop.”
Slater (5’11”, 192 lbs.) enters his second professional season after splitting his rookie campaign between the Trenton Titans and Adirondack Phantoms (AHL). Slater played 31 games with Trenton, recording 77 PIM while notching seven goals and three assists for 10 points, and in 31 games with Adirondack he picked up one assist to go along with 73 PIM.
Slater played four seasons with Western Michigan University (NCAA) before turning pro, serving as the team’s captain in both 2010-11 and 2011-12. Slater finished his four-year career with the Broncos with 46 points (23 goals, 23 assists) in 151 games and was part the CCHA (Central Collegiate Hockey Association) Championship winning team in 2011-12. Prior to his time with Western Michigan, Slater skated in 158 games over three seasons with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL, earning 74 points (34 goals, 40 assists) and 230 PIM.
Beattie (6’1″, 185 lbs.) returns to Orlando after posting six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in seven games with the Solar Bears at the tail end of last season. He had three assists against the Greenville Road Warriors in his second game with Orlando on March 21, and scored his first two professional goals while adding an assist in Orlando’s final game of the 2012-13 season.
Prior to turning pro, the native of Avondale, Arizona, scored 58 points on 20 goals and 38 assists in 115 games during a four year career at the University of Maine. Beattie’s best offensive season came in 2011-12 when he scored 27 points on six goals and 21 assists in 40 games.
Marciano (6’2″, 209 lbs.) played the final three games with the Solar Bears last season after finishing a four year career with Colorado College (NCAA). He was selected to the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) All-Academic team last season after posting two goals and six assists for eight points in 42 games. In 152 games with Colorado College, Marciano picked up seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points and 167 PIM. The Alta Loma, CA, native played two seasons with the U.S. National Development team from 2006-08, appearing in 82 games while scoring five goals and assisting on nine others.
The Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and AHL’s Iowa Wild, play all of their home games at the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year, the Amway Center.
Don’t get shut-out when we sell out! Take advantage of the Orlando Solar Bears season ticket pre-sale offer by placing a $50 deposit per ticket now to receive seat selection priority for the 2013-14 season. Call the Solar Bears at 407-951-8200 or visit www.OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.