With Maple Leafs main camp yesterday morning and the Marlies not far behind once the parent team rounds out its roster from the 59 players attending camp, Toronto’s newest affiliate, the Orlando Solar Bears opened their own free agent tryout camp yesterday as they themselves start to construct their roster for the upcoming season.
The more material I come across regarding the Solar Bears when doing research, the more you have to respect this organization and their team. We are pretty lucky as hockey fans living in Toronto, with options abound from the Maple Leafs, Marlies and the recently established Brampton Beast (the latest Central Hockey League CHL team that successfully aligned itself with the Tampa Bay Lightning). With Orlando you have a relatively small market team in the southern United States that has succeeded over considerable odds to build a solid franchise and for all intents and purposes a pretty rabid fan base. There are even some rumours out there indicating that the Solar Bears enjoy better attendance numbers on occasion than a neighboring NHL club that we won’t mention by name…cough Panthers cough.
Was pleasantly surprised to see a tweet yesterday morning from the Solar Bears announcing that they are holding open tryouts with what appears to be a large number of home grown players in attendance, which can only but increase the popularity of the team and the sports recognition in Florida.
Here is the mentioned free agent attendee’s listed outlined by team:
Running through the 18 player roster that the Solar Bears have already made commitments to for the upcoming season I was quite generally intrigued. Do the Maple Leafs request updates on any of these particular players given that the vast majority of them are free agents? Some may scoff at the idea but those same people probably don’t realize that five of the players listed on the roster were drafted and a couple who were not are intriguing enough players who would deserve at minimum some attention.
One example would be Marshall Everson, a 23 year old 6’2”, 220lbs forward who just finished up his college career with Harvard University. Had a career high 33 points in 31 games in 2011-12 and you just can’t ignore that size. Marshall is the older sibling of Maple Leafs defensive prospect Max Everson.
Another interesting name would be a tryout goalie from the Greater Cleveland area, Ismael “Ish” Qasem, a 6’3”, 207lbs goalie who once faced over 100 shots in one game, making 97 saves. Now that is quite the feat and with that kind of size would be an interesting attendee. More on that game here:
Definitely looking forward to following the club throughout the season and to find out of those listed above, who attended this one day open camp, garners an invite to the main Solar Bears camp. If you couldn’t tell from the tone of this blog I am a huge fan of the underdog and definitely wish the entire roster much success for the upcoming season. Chances are pretty slim that the significant other would ever allow me to take a trip down to Orlando in the near future to see them play but definitely starting to understand why the Maple Leafs chose to align themselves with this particular club.
Perhaps it might even be time to see if I can get my hands on one of those sweet looking white/black Team A practice jerseys with the bear claw logo to confuse my beer league buddies with. Perhaps one day the Solar Bears will take a page out of the LA Kings jersey handbook, ditch colour altogether and go for a black and white bear claw logo on their jersey like this:
Or perhaps it is time for me to get one custom made As always food for thought!