On Thursday August 28th, the Orlando Solar Bears announced the signing of American defensemen Michael Brodzinski. The two sides agreed to terms on a standard player contract for the upcoming season. Brodzinski’s return brings back a key piece of the defence for Orlando, and just as importantly, a key piece of the Solar Bears’ offence.
Brodzinski’s solid 2019-20 season saw him tally recorded eight goals along with 27 assists. He also added 36 penalty minutes while playing in 58 games. His goals, assists and points totals placed him in the Top 20 in each category for league defensemen. His 27 assists led the entire roster of the Solar Bears hockey club.
Brodzinski has also appeared in 61 games in the American Hockey League. He did so with the San Jose Barracuda where he scored two goals and eight assists for 10 points. This included 46 penalty minutes.
The Ham Lake, Minnesota native has played in 150 ECHL games between Allen and Orlando. Combined with the two, he’s racked up 20 goals and 63 assists for 83 points. He’s also added 66 penalty minutes. Brodzinski’s 73 points over two seasons with the Solar Bears ranks fourth amongst all ECHL defensemen.
The fifth round selection of San Jose back in 2013 spent three seasons in collegiate hockey where he skated with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. With the team, he scored 18 goals along with 30 assists for 48 points. He did so in 99 career games.
Brodzinski played junior hockey in the USHL with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. There, he played 64 games, scoring 16 goals along with 18 assists. He also added 47 penalty minutes. During those two seasons, Brodzinski earned USHL All Rookie Team honours while also named to the league’s second All-Star team.
During the 2019-20 season, Brodzinski represented the Solar Bears at the Warrior Hockey/ECHL All Star Classic and established a pair of franchise records. These were for points (6) and assists (5) by an individual skater during an 8-2 win over the Atlanta Gladiators. Brodzinski was also key during the February 15th win over the Norfolk Admirals. There, he scored two power play goals in 24 seconds during the game’s final minute. This would force overtime, eventually leading to a 5-4 victory.
While discussing the upcoming season with Solar Bears announcer Jesse Liebman, Brodzinski said his season preparation has been pushed back due to the December start date, but he has been working on skating and conditioning three days a week. The alternate captain’s return solidifies Orlando’s blue line while also maintaining some much needed scoring. Brodzinski joins the returning Chris LeBlanc, Kevin Lohan, Alexander Kuqali and Trevor Olson as the heart and soul of the hockey club. That core will be counted on to lead in scoring and continue their growth this season.