Mele, Orlando head to Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The Alaska Aces have signed forward Tom Mele and defenseman Todd Orlando for the 2012-13 season, Head Coach Rob Murray announced on Thursday.


Mele, 26, joins the Aces for his second pro season and first in the ECHL. A native of Bronx, N.Y., Mele spent his rookie last season with the Fort Wayne Komets, then of the Central Hockey League. 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, Mich. native joins Alaska after playing professionally in Finland last season for Hermes Kokkola. The big defenseman had eight 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 2010-11 season. He played collegiately at Oakland University where in 2007-2008 he had 22 points (8g-14a) and 108 penalty minutes in 26 games.