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ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears have announced that the club has signed veteran defenseman Blake Kessel to a Standard Player Contract.
Kessel, 30, returns for his second stint with the Solar Bears organization, where he previously skated from 2013-15, recording 50 points (11g-39a) and 72 penalty minutes in 80 games. His 39 career assists with Orlando are second in club history among defenseman, behind only Eric Baier (78).
In 207 career ECHL games with Orlando, Maine, Jacksonville, Kalamazoo, Atlanta, Bakersfield and Trenton, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound blueliner has recorded 142 points (32g-110a) and 144 penalty minutes. He has played in 85 games in the American Hockey League with Milwaukee, Toronto, Rochester, Rockford and Adirondack, posting totals of 27 points (3g-24a) and 18 penalty minutes. Kessel also has overseas professional experience in the top leagues in Finland, Germany and Slovakia, where he has collected 43 points (13g-30a) and 18 penalty minutes in 111 games.
Prior to turning pro, the native of Verona, Wisconsin played three seasons of college hockey at the University of New Hampshire, where Kessel contributed 78 points (21g-57a) and 84 penalty minutes in 114 career games for the Wildcats program. He was named to the Hockey East First All-Star Team during his sophomore and junior seasons.
Kessel played his junior hockey for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, where he collected 95 points (30g-65a) and 64 penalty minutes in 118 games and was named USHL Defenseman of the Year in 2007-08 after leading the circuit in scoring among defensemen.
Kessel has also represented the United States at the World Junior Championships, skating in six games for Team USA in the 2009 tournament hosted in Ottawa, Ontario, where he posted one assist and two penalty minutes for the Americans.
Kessel is the brother of Arizona Coyotes forward and U.S. Olympic silver medalist Phil Kessel and former NWHL player and U.S. Olympic gold medalist Amanda Kessel.
Kessel was originally a sixth-round selection (#166 overall) of the New York Islanders in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
The Solar Bears return home to host the Norfolk Admirals on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. CLICK HERE to purchase tickets for this game.
Purchase Single-Game Tickets:
Order New Jerseys:
The Orlando Solar Bears will wear new jerseys for the 2019-20 season. Replica jerseys are available for purchase online, with adult sizes available for $149.95 and youth sizes available for $109.95. Fans can visit bit.ly/OSBJerseys to place their order today.
2019-20 Season Ticket Memberships on Sale Now:
Upgrade to Solar Status and become a Season Ticket Member today. Season ticket memberships for the 2019-20 season are now on sale and start as little as $270 – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
2019-20 Season Presented by XYMOPrint:
The 2019-20 Orlando Solar Bears season is presented by XYMOPrint, Orlando’s digital printing experts. As a special offer, fans who call XYMOPrint at (888) 223-9390 from now until June 15, 2021 and reference the Solar Bears will receive 15% off their first order and a free Orlando Solar Bears poster!
About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America. In seven seasons of operation, the team has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs five times. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.