Updated: Thursday, 30 Aug 2012, 7:13 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 30 Aug 2012, 7:01 PM EDT
CLICK ON THE VIDEO TAB TO SEE TOM MELE'S KOMETS HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2011-12 SEASON.
The Alaska Aces have signed forward Tom Mele and defenseman Todd Orlando for the 2012-2013 season, Head Coach Rob Murray announced on Thursday. The pair of Alaska newcomers mark the second and third contracted players this season who were not with Alaska last year. The 2012-2013 Aces season begins on the road and the club will return home on Friday, October 19 at Sullivan Arena. Season ticket and sponsorship packages are currently available through the Aces office at 15th & Gambell. For more information, please call the Aces at 907.258.ACES or visit them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/alaskaaceshockey .
Mele, 26, joins the Aces for his second pro season and first in the ECHL. A native of Bronx, NY, Mele spent his rookie last season with the Fort Wayne Komets, then of the Central Hockey League. In the off-season, the Komets moved to the ECHL, and Mele became a free agent. With the Komets the 6'0", 188 lbs. Mele had 18 points (7g, 11a) in 52 games, while adding 64 penalty minutes. He also chipped in two goals and three assists in 17 playoff games helping Fort Wayne to a CHL Championship. He made his pro debut appearing in two Komets playoff games in 2011. Prior to his pro career, Mele was a four year standout at American International College. Heralded as a terrific skater and a gritty player, Mele totaled 55 points (32g, 23a) in 132 collegiate games. He increased his point total each season, while playing in 33 games each season. Mele was named the captain of AIC as a senior, and tied for fourth in team scoring. Mele led the Hawkesbury Hawks of the CJHL in scoring with 66 points (28g, 38a) in 55 games in his final season of junior hockey before attending AIC. Mele attended the Springfield Falcons AHL training camp in 2011 before his first full pro season.
Orlando, 26, brings a lot of size to the Aces roster. Standing 6'8" and weighing 231 lbs., the Clinton Township, MI native joins Alaska after playing professionally in Finland last season for Hermes Kokkola. The big defenseman had 8 points (1g, 7a) and 48 penalty minutes in 14 games. Before that Orlando received high-level experience when he attended New York Rangers prospect camp in 2010. He has one game of ECHL experience, having briefly suited up for the Cincinnati Cyclones in the 2010-2011 season. He played collegiately at Oakland University where in 2007-2008 he had 22 points (8g, 14a) and 108 penalty minutes in 26 games.
Mele and Orlando join Matt Robinson as the three non-returners from last season. The signings bring the total number of contracted players to 11 consisting of one goaltender, three defensemen, and seven forwards.
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