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Training Camp Report - Day 2

Saturday, October 7th
Training Camp Report - Day 2

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Solar Bears began their second day of on-ice training Saturday as 2023 Training Camp rolls on at Orlando Ice Den in Orlando, Florida. 

After a grueling first day, head coach Matt Carkner was not letting off the gas in day two. Still the club has much conditioning to endure before they take to the ice for the first time for a pair of preseason matchers in Estero against the Florida Everblades on October 12th and 13th

One player who came to camp ready for the challenge is forward Luke Boka, who returns for his third season with the Solar Bears. Carkner mentioned Boka by name when speaking about players who took their summer workout regimen seriously and reported to camp ready to play. 

“When I think about the guys who took their summer workouts seriously, Luke Boka is one that comes to mind,” said the second-year bench boss. “He looks different. He looks like an athlete. That’s a great sign that he’s committed, and he wants to get better.’ 

The Plymouth, Michigan native understands his production didn’t take off in year two the way he was hoping it would but is poised to take a step forward in the scoring department this season.  

“I was pretty disappointed in my season last year, I went home with a chip on my shoulder,” said Boka. “I was just trying to get prepared and ready to go for this year. It's a big year for this group. We haven’t been to the playoffs in a long time, and I've won a championship before and to be able to go on a deep playoff run and get back there, that's what's on my mind. It’s all about winning and doing it as a team.”

That championship Boka was referring to came during the 2016-17 season, when he and current teammate Aaron Luchuk won the CHL Memorial Cup Championship. A memory that Boka and Luchuk remember fondly and hope to bring the same type of postseason success to Orlando. 

“I think this is our seventh season as teammates now and we have really good chemistry,” said Boka of Luchuk. ”He’s a great player. We played on a line together when we won a national championship. I stood up at his wedding. He’s one of my best friends and we’re lucky to have him back for this season.”

As much as Luchuk will be looked toward to provide scoring, he and Boka realize it will be a group that scores by committee, and they will only have success if everyone is contributing. Boka says he is already seeing the fruits of his summer labor.

“I put the work in the summer, and I can already see it's translating out here the first couple of days of camp. I'm just shooting the puck better and I'm just feeling a lot more confident in my game and for me, my game goes as my confidence goes. I got to experience that first year, my confidence was high, so I was playing well and then last year it was kind of a sophomore slump, so I’m determined to get back to that level and keep building.” 

2023 Solar Bears Training Camp continues Sunday with practice from 11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. at Orlando Ice Den in Orlando, FL. Practice is free and open to the public.   

*Practice time is subject to change*

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