Solar Bears await home opener

MAITLAND — The Orlando Solar Bears announced today that their home opener against the Florida EverBlades on Saturday, Oct. 20 is sold out.

The sell out, along with other news has resulted in a big week for the Solar Bears following last weeks two game series against the Florida Everblades in Estero, Fla. First, the Solar Bears named center Ryan Cruthers the first captain in ECHL Solar Bears history on Wednesday, Oct.17, only to lead the way for Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer to proclaim Friday, Oct.19, 2012 “Solar Bears Purple Day.

With all that going on during the week, the Solar Bears practiced on Friday, before getting on the bus for Estero, Fla. in the early afternoon.

After practice on Friday, Solar Bears captain Ryan Cruthers said, “We set ourselves up for a great weekend,” later adding, “We just want some momentum going into that home game.”

Cruthers has been named captain by head coach Drake Berehowsky along with right winger Kevin Baker and defenseman Derick Martin as alternate captains.

Berehowsky thinks it’s important for a franchise that is just getting off the ground to have great leaders. He said, “When they came to camp, they lead in everything they did,” Berehowsky later added, “That’s what I’m looking for, guys who want to lead by example.” Coach Berehowsky compared the three to some legendary names in hockey history, including Mario Lemieux, and Wayne Gretzky.

The Solar Bears still have an away game to play before Saturday’s home opener at the Amway Center, but captain Ryan Cruthers said, “I get chills just thinking about playing there.” Cruthers thinks everybody will be trying to score the first home goal on Saturday night. Cruthers added, “To score that first goal, and hear your name, and then see your picture up there  on the jumbotron will be pretty special.”

The Solar Bears face off against the Florida Everblades on Friday, Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m., before Saturday’s sold out home opener at 7:00 p.m. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, with a special Opening Night ceremony featuring Solar Bears alumni Todd Richards.