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Solar Bears Summer Update: Building the Roster

Four more sign on the dotted line with Orlando!

Fernando Medina/Orlando Solar Bears

When we last checked in with the Orlando Solar Bears offseason, the team was starting to put together the 2021-22 roster, bringing back key veterans Kevin Lohan and Tyler Bird. The team has recently signed four more players for the upcoming season, bringing back one skater and signing three rookies out of college.

McInnis Returns

Defenseman Luke McInnis will be returning to Orlando for his second professional season, signing on August 4th. In his rookie campaign, the Massachusetts native appeared in 46 games with a goal and 3 assists.

Meet the Newbies!

The first rookie on board for next season is defenseman Braydon Barker, who signed on August 10th. Barker comes to Orlando by way of the NCHA’s Concordia University Wisconsin, where he completed a four-year run last season. The Alberta native led all Division III defensemen in scoring during his senior season, with one goal and 24 assists in 21 games for the Falcons, and was named to the NCHA All-Conference Team for the second time during his collegiate career. Before joining Concordia, Barker spent 2 years with the AJHL’s Olds Grizzlys.

On Thursday, Orlando picked up their second rookie in forward Jackson Keane. He will be joining the Solar Bears for his first full pro season after getting in 9 games with Wheeling to close out the 2020-21 campaign, picking up one assist. Prior to joining the Nailers, the Winnipeg native spent three years with the University of North Dakota. In 2020-21, he had 2 goals and one assist in 25 games for the Fighting Hawks. He is the son of former NHLer Mike Keane.

On Tuesday, forward Ian Parker signed a standard contract with the Solar Bears and looks to make his pro debut after sitting out the 2020-21 season. This may be one of the most intriguing signings thus far, considering his background: continuing with the tradition of Andrei Sustr and Oleg Sosunov, Parker checks in at 6-foot-9 and 234 pounds. He is a native of Florence, Kentucky, who spent three seasons in college with the OUAA’s University of Windsor in Canada. In his last playing season of 2019-20, Parker appeared in 28 games with 7 goals and 8 assists.

Top 25 Under 25—Reminder!

Finally, as Justin mentioned earlier this week, voting is now open for the 2021 Top 25 Under 25! A few current—and possibly future—Solar Bears are on the ballot, so click on the link and enter your rankings!