ECHL: Orlando Solar Bears Season Preview

Aaron Luchuk (left) photo by Orlando Solar Bears, Jimmy Mazza (right) photo by Christa Hinn

Orlando’s 2023-24 season begins next Thursday, October 12th, at Hertz Arena, where the Solar Bears take on the Florida Everblades. The first home game of the 2023-24 season is on October 19, 2023, against the team’s rival, the Florida Everglades, at 7:00 p.m. at Amway Arena. Fans were heartbroken to see a few players leave the team, but general manager and head coach Matt Carkner has made some roster moves that fans should get excited about.


The Orlando Solar Bears brought a few forwards back from the 2022-23 season: Tyler Bird, Luke Boka, Joe Carroll, Aaron Luchuk, Alex Frye, and Jamie Rome. Number 91, Aaron Luchuk, is an impressive player who always gives the Orlando fans a good show. Luchuk, 26, has played 103 games with the Solar Bears and has scored 47 goals and 68 assists. He is unstoppable on the ice and definitely a player to watch this season. 22-year-old Joe Carroll is another player to watch as he takes on his second season in the ECHL. Carroll played 23 games with Orlando during the 2022-23 season and scored 22 points (13g-9a) with 37 penalty minutes. 

Orlando has added six new players who have not played for the Solar Bears before Brayden Low, who played 187 games with Reading, Tanner Schachle, Ryan Cox, D-Jay Jerome, Patrick Newell, and Alexandre Fortin. Newell will be entering his first season of ECHL hockey. 


The Orlando Solar Bears have resigned Jay Powell, Kenny Johnson, and Jimmy Mazza from the 2022-23 season. Orlando is welcoming five new faces to the team, Ben Carroll, Jake Stevens, Louka Henault, Mitchell Smith, and Chris Perna. During the 2022-23 season, Jimmy Mazza played 72 games and sat in the penalty box for 108 minutes. While at Canisius College, Mazza skated in 141 games and scored 68 points (18g-50a). All of our blueliners this upcoming season have a history of high penalty minutes, so fans should be on the lookout for players dropping the gloves when needed.


Drennen Atherton is the only goaltender listed currently on the preseason roster. Atherton is from Winter Haven, right outside of Orlando, and appeared in two games during the 2022-23 season with the Solar Bears. During his collegiate career at Norwich University, Atherton was on the ice for 42 games and had a 28-9-5 record with a .946 save percentage. Will the Orlando Solar Bears be bringing on another goaltender before training camp begins? Last week, Orlando announced six players who were given professional tryout (PTO) contracts with the team. One of the six is goaltender Brandon Halverson. Prior to the 2022-23 season, Halverson signed an ECHL Standard Player Contract with Orlando but was not put in net during a game. The 27-year-old has played games with the NHL, AHL, ECHL, and DEL2. He was selected 59th overall by the New York Rangers in the 2014 NHL draft.

Orlando Solar Bears players will be back in town this week for training camp. On Tuesday, October 3rd, many players attended the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers preseason game at the Amway Center, where the Solar Bears play. When asked about his goals during an in-game interview, forward Aaron Luchuk stated they have no personal goals, only team goals. Fans were excited to see Aaron Luchuk and Luke Boka make an appearance during the game. I’m excited to see how this group of players look together on the ice.

Ashley Trollinger

Ashley is a writer for ITR covering the Orlando Solar Bears. Go Bears!

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