By Corey Hagood –
Former Oakland University Hockey defenseman Todd Orlando will be trying out for the Philadelphia Flyers in September at the team’s main camp.
“I will be skating with (Vincent) Lecavalier, (Claude) Giroux, (Scott) Harnell and the rest of the Flyers so it’s a big step from where I was.” Orlando, a native of Clinton Township, said.
“Coming out of playing men’s league three or four years ago to being in an NHL main camp is a dream come true.”
Orlando played part of this past season with the Wheeling Nailers in the ECHL, where a scout for the Flyers discovered him. He has also played in the CHL since his Oakland days.
“I was finishing up the season in Wheeling and we had a game in Trenton (N.J.).” Orlando said about the Flyers scout finding him. “I had a pretty good game, I ended up playing well got in a fight. I talked to my agent and (the Flyers) had a scout in the stands and the guy I happened to fight ended up being (the Flyers) young tough prospect that they drafted.
“(The Flyers) saw what I did and liked the way I played the game as well and gave me a shot.”
Orlando also attended the New York Rangers’ prospect camp in 2010 and he gained a lot from that experience, which he hopes will help him in September.
“I learned to just enjoy it, have fun and make sure you go out there and work as hard as you possibly can while being in shape.” Orlando said.
He only had a month of preparation time for his first shot with an NHL team back in 2010, but this time around Orlando has had months to train and prepare.
“When I went to the New York camp I only had 30 days to prepare for an NHL camp.” Orlando said. “I found out about this (Flyers tryout) at the beginning of the summer so I have been working hard and preparing myself the whole summer for this opportunity.”
Orlando said that he has become a more consistent player since his time with the Grizzlies.
“I have more consistency. When I played at Oakland, I was more ‘go out there have a good time’. You’re younger (back then) so my preparation for games was not as good as it is now.”
Orlando also says he has to be ready in case he gets the call to play in one of the Flyers’ preseason games.
“If I get called up to play an NHL preseason game I have to work as hard as I can and be happy with the result knowing that I worked hard for it.
“Nothing is guaranteed in the world of hockey, ever.”
Finally, Orlando had some advice for current ACHA players dreaming of a chance like he has.
“Just keep working.” Orlando said.
He also said that playing in the ACHA can lead to other opportunities after college.
“People have this reputation about the ACHA and that you’re not going to make it but obviously you can. You have to keep working hard, you have to play well and you have to keep your head in it and do what you need to do.
“If you’re a good hockey player, they (scouts) are always going to find you, it doesn’t matter what league you play in or where you’re at. You can just never take anything for granted, just go out there everyday like your job in on the line.”
Corey Hagood is the broadcaster and director of hockey operations for the Oakland University Grizzlies.