Orlando Solar Bears name captains for 2016-17 season

Veteran defenseman Eric Baier named for third time in 4 seasons


ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears on Wednesday announced the captains for their fifth season of ECHL hockey.

Veteran defenseman Eric Baier was named team captain of the Solar Bears for the third time in his four seasons with the club, while forward Eric Faille, veteran defenseman Trevor Ludwig, forward Denver Manderson and forward Johnny McInnis were named alternate captains.

“Being named a captain is one of the most important roles in hockey,” Solar Bears head coach Anthony Noreen said. “The five players we’ve selected for these roles represent the values of everything we look for in an Orlando Solar Bears player.”

Baier, 28, is entering his fourth season with the Solar Bears, and is the longest-tenured player with the organization, having anchored Orlando’s blueline for a franchise-record 176 regular-season games to go along with 81 points (28g-53a) and 59 penalty minutes.

“As far as being named captain, I intend to show up and lead by example and be a positive influence, whether it’s on the ice, in the locker room or out in the community,” Baier said. “The leadership we have in our locker room is phenomenal; it doesn’t fall on one guy. It makes it a lot easier on the coaches and the leadership core to know we have such a strong group of guys who care, and there’s internal competition to get the most out of each other.”

Faille, 27, was recently reassigned to the Solar Bears by Orlando’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, for his second season in the City Beautiful. In 2015-16, Faille became the first player with the Solar Bears to reach the 60-point plateau, as his 60 points (24g-36a) led the team in 54 games as he served as an alternate captain.

Ludwig, 31, is preparing for his first season with Orlando after agreeing to terms with the organization this summer. Last year, he served as the captain of the Missouri Mavericks, who captured the Brabham Cup as the ECHL team with the best record in the regular season. He was also part of the leadership group of the Allen Americans that claimed the Kelly Cup in 2014-15 and the Central Hockey League’s Ray Miron President’s Cup in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Manderson, 27, enters his third season with the Solar Bears after recording 16 points (4g-12a) and eight penalty minutes in 25 games last season. He has 66 points (22g-44a) and 26 penalty minutes in 77 career games with Orlando, and was named the team’s MVP during the 2014-15 campaign, when he led Orlando with 18 goals.

McInnis, 27, will be playing in his third season with Orlando and served as an alternate captain in the 2015-16 season for the Solar Bears. In 105 games with the Solar Bears, McInnis has posted 63 points (26g-37a) and 39 penalty minutes.

The Orlando Solar Bears drop the puck on their fifth season of ECHL hockey on Saturday against the Florida Everblades at the ARS.com Rink at Amway Center.