Solar Bears add former NCAA iron man Ben Danford to blueline

Defenseman joins Orlando after spending 2015-16 in Sweden

Photo credit: Tommy Svensson

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Solar Bears, proud affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, have announced that the club has agreed to terms with rookie defenseman Ben Danford for the 2016-17 season.

Danford, 27, spent last season overseas with Kristanstads IK of Sweden’s Hockeyettan, posting four assists and 20 penalty minutes in 26 games. The 6-foot-0, 185-pound defenseman has also played professionally in France and patrolled the blueline for three games with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL in 2013-14. In total, he has 19 points (7g-12a) and 34 penalty minutes in 48 pro games.

“Ben Danford is a reliable defenseman who excels at moving the puck,” Solar Bears head coach Anthony Noreen said. “He will be a guy who can help us in all three zones.”

Prior to turning pro, Danford completed a decorated four-year collegiate career with Canisius College, where he was coached by former IHL Solar Bears player Dave Smith. In 158 games with the Golden Griffins, the Stillwater, Minn. native recorded 84 points (10g-74a) and 114 penalty minutes, while helping the program capture the AHA conference title in 2012-13. Danford led all Canisius defensemen in scoring in each of his four seasons and never missed a single game in his career, the longest streak in the school’s history and the 13th-longest in NCAA history.

“I’m honored to become part of the Solar Bears. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the coaching staff and the outstanding community support,” Danford said. “The team’s values align perfectly with what I’m looking for on and off the ice, and I’m excited to get the season underway.”

Danford also played junior hockey in the North American Hockey League with the Southern Minnesota Express, Motor City Machine, North Iowa Outlaws and Bismarck Bobcats, picking up the NAHL’s Robertson Cup championship with Bismarck in 2009-10. In 148 career NAHL contests the blueliner earned 50 points (18g-32a) and 100 penalty minutes.

Fans can keep track of all Solar Bears offseason player movement by visiting the 2016 Offseason Headquarters.

The Solar Bears drop the puck on their fifth season of ECHL hockey on Saturday, Oct. 22 against the Florida Everblades at the Amway Center. On-sale dates for the purchase of single-game tickets will be announced later this summer. Full and half-season ticket plans are now available by visiting OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.com.

The Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, play all of their home games at the Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.

Follow the Solar Bears at www.OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.comFacebook, and Twitter (@OrlandoHockey) for all the latest news and updates. Stay in touch with Shades on Instagram by following SolarBearsHockey.

Season tickets, Corporate Flex vouchers, and Group tickets are a great way to entertain employees, co-workers, clients, friends and family. For more information on all of the Solar Bears ticket packages, call 407-951-8200 or visit www.orlandosolarbearshockey.com/groups.

Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at: http://store.orlandosolarbearshockey.com/.

To read the Solar Bears Report to the Community, click here.