ORLANDO, Fla. - The Orlando Solar Bears, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL's Toronto Marlies, have announced that the club has agreed to terms with rookie forward Connor Gaarder for the 2016-17 season.
Gaarder joins the Solar Bears after spending the 2015-16 season overseas with Frisk Asker of Norway's GET-ligaen, where he posted 36 points (18g-18a) and 20 penalty minutes in 45 games.
Prior to turning pro, the 25-year-old played four seasons of collegiate hockey from 2011-15 with the University of North Dakota, where he racked up 58 points (27g-31a) in 151 career games and helped the program capture a WCHA title in 2011-12. During the 2013-14 season, he also scored the double-overtime game-winning goal against Ferris State University that sent North Dakota to the Frozen Four.
The native of Edina, Minn. played junior hockey in the NAHL with the North Iowa Outlaws and Coulee Region Chill, amassing 87 points (37g-50a) and 125 penalty minutes in 116 career games.
Gaarder's grandfather, Jerry Burns, was the head coach of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings from 1986-91.