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Solar Bears add former University of North Dakota product Connor Gaarder

Tuesday, September 13th
Solar Bears add former University of North Dakota product Connor Gaarder

Forward played in Norway in 2015-16

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 forward Connor Gaarder for the 2016-17 season.

Gaarder (GOHR-duhr), 25, joins the Solar Bears after spending the 2015-16 season overseas with Frisk Asker of Norway’s GET-ligaen, where he posted 36 points (18g-18a) and 20 penalty minutes in 45 games.

“Connor Gaarder is a high-energy, high-character player,” Solar Bears head coach Anthony Noreen said. “He plays hard every shift and has a knack for scoring big goals.”

Prior to turning pro, the 5-foot-10, 194-pound forward played four seasons of collegiate hockey from 2011-15 with the University of North Dakota, where he was teammates with current Solar Bears forward Coltyn Sanderson. In 151 games with the Fighting Hawks program, Gaarder racked up 58 points (27g-31a) and 97 penalty minutes and helped the program capture a WCHA title in 2011-12. During the 2013-14 season, he also scored the double-overtime game-winning goal against Ferris State University that sent North Dakota to the Frozen Four.

“I wanted to win a championship and I think the Solar Bears provide the best opportunity for me to do that,” Gaarder said. “I’m eager to get down to Orlando for training camp.”

The native of Edina, Minn. played junior hockey in the NAHL with the North Iowa Outlaws and Coulee Region Chill, amassing 87 points (37g-50a) and 125 penalty minutes in 116 career games. During his time with North Iowa, he was teammates with current Solar Bears defenseman Ben Danford.

Gaarder’s grandfather, Jerry Burns, was the head coach of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings from 1986-91.

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. Single-game tickets go on sale on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 10 a.m. at the Amway Center box office and ticketmaster.com. 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, .

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