Solar Bears roster moves

The Solar Bears announced that they have signed two returning players for next season, Austin Block and Chris Crane.

Austin Block returns for his third season as a Solar Bear.  In 74 career games with the Solar Bears, Block has posted totals of 42 points (14g-28a) and 44 penalty minutes since being acquired in a trade with the Manchester Monarchs on Feb 12, 2016.  Block was also the recipient of the team’s Dan Snyder Memorial Award for his hard work and perseverance throughout the season.

Crane recorded 35 points (15g-20a) and 43 penalty minutes in 46 games for the Solar Bears after he was acquired from the Allen Americans on November 18 in exchange for Bryan Moore and the rights to Rylan Schwartz. Crane finished the regular season with 44 points (18g-26a) and 51 penalty minutes in 60 games. In the Kelly Cup Playoffs, Crane was at his most productive, racking up nine points (2g-7a) and 16 penalty minutes in seven games; his seven assists led the Solar Bears in the postseason.

ECHL division realignment

ECHL Board of Governors approves the Conference and Divisional alignment for the 2017-18 Season :

Eastern Conference

South Division

Atlanta Gladiators, Florida Everblades, Greenville Swamp Rabbits, Jacksonville IceMen, Norfolk Admirals, Orlando Solar Bears, South Carolina Stingrays

North Division

Adirondack Thunder, Brampton Beast, Manchester Monarchs, Reading Royals, Wheeling Nailers, Worcester Railers

Western Conference

Central Division

Cincinnati Cyclones, Fort Wayne Komets, Indy Fuel, Kalamazoo Wings, Kansas City Mavericks, Quad City Mallards, Toledo Walleye

Mountain Division

Allen Americans, Colorado Eagles, Idaho Steelheads, Rapid City Rush, Tulsa Oilers, Utah Grizzlies, Wichita Thunder

The first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs will once again be played entirely within the division, with the division winner playing the fourth-place finisher and the second-place team meeting the third-place team in the Division Semifinals. The winners of each series will meet in the Division Finals, leading to the Conference Finals and Kelly Cup Finals.

The divisional alignment is a return to more normalcy as the Cincinnati Cyclones spent the 2016-2017 season as a member of the South division, though they played few games against South division opponents, and their closest rivals in the league were in the Western Conference.

The unbalanced divisions in the Eastern Conference should be corrected when the Portland Maine team begins play in 2018. The league approved the transfer of the Alaska Aces to Portland Maine during the recent league meetings in Las Vegas.