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Fun and games

Monday, October 11th
Fun and games

In a bygone era of professional  hockey, the purpose of training camp was an opportunity to shed any excess weight gained during the summer months and get into shape.

Nowadays, hockey is a year-round job, even for players at the ECHL level, and the expectation is that players should be prepared to arrive at camp already in peak physical fitness.

These days, it’s not uncommon to need a few practices to shake off the rust of several months of no games, but with the first few days of on-ice sessions already in the books, the agenda shifted Monday as the Orlando Solar Bears transitioned to a number of skills-based drills and games pitting the forwards against the defensemen.

The team began practice this morning working on puck retrievals off the walls. As assistant coach Jared Staal explained, “if you can get good at that it definitely helps in the games, so we just worked on that, it’s something that isn’t practiced a lot, so it was good to get some reps in for them.”

Now heading into his third season with the Solar Bears on the staff of head coach and general manager Drake Berehowsky, Staal is looking forward to seeing the roster that the pair has assembled get into some preseason exhibition action this coming weekend.

“It’s easier to get a better read on the players when you play in actual games,” Staal said. “You can do a lot of things in practice, but if you can’t put it together in a game, you’re not going to be successful so it’ll be good to see them in action.”

Bird drops back on ‘D’

While indications are that the roster may jump in size tomorrow, for today Bird and Tristin Langan donned black practice jerseys and joined the squad of defensemen. 

“I can’t remember playing [on defense] since Mite,” Bird admitted. “Probably shouldn’t be playing ‘D’ too much, I don’t think I looked too good out there, but it was fun to get back there.”

The fourth-year pro is heading into his third season with the Solar Bears, where he has carved out an identity as a speedy forward who has the ability to inject offense into a game.

“Each year I’ve done a little better, so I think that’s a big thing for me, if I can provide that secondary scoring behind the skill guys, and just continue to be good all over the ice, I think that will be good for us.”

Ricci looking to be come a greater threat

After joining the Solar Bears midway through the 2020-21 season, Fabrizio Ricci occasionally found himself not in the lineup. It’s something he’s determined to change this season. On top of that, he’s hope to add another dimension to his game.

“Just to be a two-way player, maybe pose more of an offensive threat,” Ricci said. “I pride myself on [being] a two-way defensive-minded player, PK guy…it’ll be good to chip in offensively when I can, and help the team whichever way Drake and the coaching staff want me to.”

One thing he has noticed is the buy-in from the collective group as it learns the systems the coaching staff intend to deploy in games this season.

“The quicker we adapt to it, the quicker we make those necessary changes, the better we’re going to be as a whole,” Ricci said. “It’s good that the guys buy in quick, and we can start the season with a bang.

“It’s going to be positions, and attention to detail. The coaching staff loves to make sure that the players know the emphasis on small things. Stopping on loose pucks, taking the body, the little things that are going to go a long way towards the end of the season and teams we’re going to play against.”

Upcoming Home Games

Full Schedule
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Friday, April 26th
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EDT
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
GVL Greenville Swamp Rabbits
at
Orlando Solar Bears
ORL Orlando Solar Bears
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Saturday, April 27th
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Puck Drops:
9:00 PM EDT
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
GVL Greenville Swamp Rabbits
at
Orlando Solar Bears
ORL Orlando Solar Bears
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Sunday, April 28th
Greenville Swamp Rabbits @ Orlando Solar Bears
Puck Drops:
7:00 PM EDT
Kia Center
Greenville Swamp Rabbits
GVL Greenville Swamp Rabbits
at
Orlando Solar Bears
ORL Orlando Solar Bears
Kia Center

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