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Solar Bears sign Nolan Valleau

The Orlando Solar Bears have signed veteran defenseman Nolan Valleau (shown here skating against the Reading Royals on March 4, 2018) to an ECHL Standard Player Contract for the 2020-21 season. Photo: Gary Bassing

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Solar Bears have announced the club has signed veteran defenseman Nolan Valleau to an ECHL Standard Player Contract for the 2020-21 season. Additionally, Orlando has also traded defenseman Patrick McNally to the Wheeling Nailers in exchange for future considerations, while veteran forward Ben Thomson has been activated from the Commissioner’s Exempt List and loaned to the Binghamton Devils of the American Hockey League. 

Valleau (vah-LOO), 28, returns for his third stint with the Solar Bears after playing under contract with the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch during the 2019-20 season, where he registered six points (2g-4a) and 14 penalty minutes in 35 games. 

The 6-foot-1, 177-pound blueliner has skated in 48 career games with the Solar Bears, tallying 38 points (10g-28a) and 24 penalty minutes. During the 2017-18 campaign, his .83 points per game (34 points in 41 games) set the current club record for average point production by a defenseman in a single season, and he represented the Solar Bears at the 2018 ECHL All-Star Classic in Indianapolis, where he won the hardest shot competition with a 97-mph slap shot. 

In addition to his time in the ECHL with Orlando, Valleau has also appeared in 227 career AHL games with Syracuse, Utica, Milwaukee, Chicago and Rockford, producing 46 points (9g-37a) and 85 penalty minutes. Valleau turned pro after signing with the Chicago Blackhawks on August 18, 2015. 

Prior to turning pro, the Novi, Mich. native played one season of college hockey at Bowling Green State University. In 39 games for the Falcons program, the redshirt freshman collected 19 points (2g-17a) and 35 penalty minutes and was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team. 

Valleau played junior hockey for the Des Moines Buccaneers and Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, where he put up totals of 26 points (8g-18a) and 38 penalty minutes in 64 games. Prior to that, he posted 31 points (6g-25a) and 52 penalty minutes in 53 games with the North American Hockey League’s Port Huron Fighting Falcons and New Mexico Mustangs. 

McNally, 29, had five assists and 12 penalty minutes in 15 games with Orlando this season. 

Thomson, 28, has two assists and 23 penalty minutes with the Solar Bears. 


The Solar Bears open a seven-game road trip against the Florida Everblades at Hertz Arena on Friday, Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m. The Solar Bears are back on home ice to host the Florida Everblades at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

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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 $279 – CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

New Mobile App: 

Download the new Orlando Solar Bears mobile app today — get access to your game tickets, news, updates and more! Download in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today.

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 Stanley Cup champion 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 the AdventHealth Rink 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