LeBlanc, Kuqali and Lohan are first Solar Bears signings for 2020-21 season
ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears have announced the club has agreed to terms with forward Chris LeBlanc and defensemen Alexander Kuqali and Kevin Lohan on ECHL Standard Player Contracts for the 2020-21 season.
LeBlanc (luh-BLANK), 26, returns to Orlando after recording 35 points (14g-21a) and 24 penalty minutes in 52 games during the 2019-20 campaign. On Jan. 5, LeBlanc became the seventh player in club history to be named to the team captaincy on a full-time basis. LeBlanc’s 14 goals during the season established a new career-high, and he enters the 2020-21 season with the second-most games played (173), tied for the fifth-most points (95), the fifth-most assists (61) and tied for the seventh-most goals (34) in franchise history. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound forward returns for his fourth season with Orlando after he was originally signed as a free agent on Aug. 28, 2017.
LeBlanc has tallied 100 points (34g-66a) and 96 penalty minutes in 180 career ECHL games with the Solar Bears and Wichita Thunder. He has also skated in six career American Hockey League games with the Binghamton Senators.
Prior to turning pro, the Winthrop, Mass. native completed four seasons of college hockey skating for Merrimack College. In 113 career games for the Warriors program, LeBlanc recorded 48 points (22g-26a) and 53 penalty minutes.
LeBlanc was a sixth-round selection (#161 overall) of the Ottawa Senators in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Kuqali (koo-KAWL-ee), 29, returns to Orlando after posting six points (4g-2a) and two penalty minutes in 26 games during an injury-shortened 2019-20 season, and received the club’s Rob Kenny Memorial Award for his community service efforts. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound blueliner returns for his third season with the club after he was originally acquired via trade from the Fort Wayne Komets on Jan. 29, 2019.
In 208 career ECHL games with the Solar Bears, Komets, Quad City Mallards and Florida Everblades, Kuqali has posted 61 points (13g-48a) and 66 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, Kuqali played college hockey for the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he helped the Tigers program capture three consecutive Atlantic Hockey Association conference titles from 2014-16. During his senior season, Kuqali served as team captain and earned Lowes Senior Class All-American First-Team honors. In 153 career NCAA games, Kuqali recorded 59 points (13g-46a) and 146 penalty minutes.
The Pittsburgh, Penn. native also played junior hockey with the Sioux City Musketeers and Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League, along with the Alpena IceDiggers of the North American Hockey League. In 184 combined games, Kuqali registered 46 points (9g-37a) and 110 penalty minutes.
Lohan, 26, returns to Orlando after posting seven points (1g-6a) and 39 penalty minutes in 49 games last season. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound defenseman is back for his third campaign with the Solar Bears after he was originally acquired via trade with the Toledo Walleye on Dec. 27, 2018.
In 105 career ECHL games with Orlando and Toledo, Lohan has accrued 17 points (2g-15a) and 73 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, the native of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y. played four seasons of college hockey at the University of Michigan and one season as a graduate transfer at Boston College. In 86 career NCAA games, Lohan notched 19 points (4g-15a) and 44 penalty minutes.
COVID-19 Relief Efforts
The Solar Bears announced the pre-sale of a COVID-19 Relief Bundle in April, featuring a team-branded face covering and t-shirt retailing for $30, with the net proceeds going to Feeding Children Everywhere to assist in the organization’s efforts to package and distribute meals to children and families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fans can continue to place their orders for a COVID-19 Relief Bundle at www.orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop/covid-19-relief. Fans can also support ECHL players and their families who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the cancelation of the 2019-20 ECHL season by contributing to the ECHL-PHPA COVID-19 Relief Fund at www.echl.com/covid19relieffund.
2020-21 Season Ticket Memberships on Sale Now:
Upgrade to Solar Status and become a Season Ticket Member today. Season ticket memberships for the 2020-21 season are now on sale and start as little as $314 – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
2020-21 Season Presented by XYMOPrint:
The 2020-21 Orlando Solar Bears season is presented by XYMOPrint, Orlando’s digital printing experts. As a special offer, fans who call XYMOPrint at (888) 223-9390 from now until June 15, 2021 and reference the Solar Bears will receive 15% off their first order and a free Orlando Solar Bears poster!
About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America. In eight seasons of operation, the team has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs five times. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.