ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears have announced the club has agreed to terms with goaltender Garret Sparks on an ECHL Standard Player Contract for the 2020-21 season.
Sparks, 27, played the 2019-20 season under contract with the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights, primarily with the club’s former American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. He went 8-14-4 in 26 appearances with Chicago while recording two shutouts, a 2.75 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. He also appeared in one game for the Golden Knights.
The 6-foot-3, 201-pound goaltender has played the entirety of his ECHL career with Orlando over parts of three seasons from 2013-16, appearing in 47 contests and owning a record of 26-13-3 with six shutouts, a 2.42 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. During the 2014-15 season, Sparks’ .936 save percentage led the ECHL and set a franchise single-season record, while the goaltender also established franchise single-season marks for shutouts (5), goals-against average (2.34) and wins (21; since broken).
Sparks became the second former Solar Bears player to reach the NHL when he made his debut with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 30, a 3-0 blanking of the Edmonton Oilers, becoming the first goaltender in Maple Leafs history to record a shutout in his NHL debut. He owns a 14-8-2 record in 38 career NHL appearances between Toronto and Vegas, along with two shutouts, a 3.10 goals-against average and a .897 save percentage.
Sparks has spent the bulk of his pro career in the AHL, going 88-42-13 in 147 career appearances with 17 shutouts, a 2.24 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. During the 2017-18 season, Sparks was named to the league’s First All-Star Team and selected as the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award recipient as the league’s best goaltender during the regular season while leading the circuit in wins (31), goals-against average (1.79) and save percentage (.936) before helping lead the Marlies to the Calder Cup championship.
Prior to turning pro, the Elmhurst, Ill. native played major junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey League with the Guelph Storm, where he went 71-48-9 in 138 appearances with 12 shutouts, a 2.97 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
The American has also represented his country on the international stage, serving as the third netminder for the United States squad at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Russia, winning gold.
Sparks was a seventh-round selection (#190 overall) of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Orlando Solar Bears 2020 Training Camp Roster (as of Dec. 1, 2020):
Abbandonato, Peter [SYR]
Alvaro, Matt [R]
Crawford, Isaiah [R-TO]
Gilmour, Alexander [R]
Hope, Kylar [R]
Johnson, Stephen [R]
Pavlychev, Nikita [R-SYR]
Piotrowski, J.M. [R-TO]
Skinner, Ethan [R-TO]
McInnis, Luke [R]
Meyer, Paul [R]
Stephens, Devante [SYR]
Lackey, Michael [R]
Windsor, Clint [SYR]
[R] = Rookie
[TO] = Tryout
[V] = Veteran
[SYR] = Syracuse Crunch contract
The Solar Bears open the 2020-21 season, presented by XYMOPrint, on the road against the Florida Everblades on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. Orlando’s first home game of the 2020-21 season will be played at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m.
Merchandise Offer — Black Friday Sale:
Take advantage of our Black Friday Week of Savings, starting Tuesday, Nov. 24 through Tuesday, Dec. 1. Save up to 30% off all orders using promo code ORL30. All online merchandise purchases include a free Solar Bears face covering, while supplies last. Shop now at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.
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.
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New Mobile App:
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 orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.