HERSHEY, Pa. – The Hershey Bears unveiled their first player signing for the 2022-23 season: Mason Morelli returns to the Sweetest Place on Earth on an AHL contract.
Morelli is coming off of a career year at the AHL level. He suited up for 68 games, tallied 33 points (12 goals, 21 assists), including two game-winning overtime goals, and was named the Most Improved Player in the annual team award ceremony. The contract keeps him in Hershey for next season on a one-year contract, eliminating any chances that another AHL team would scoop him up.
Morelli had a memorable season that saw him notch his first Hershey Bears goal dramatically on Thanksgiving Eve, where his goal eventually stood after a review. That opened the floodgates where he scored four points (one goal, three assists) on December 29, tallied in three straight games in mid-February, and scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner on April 10 against the Springfield Thunderbirds in overtime. Morelli has been a flexible player capable of playing up and down the lineup and suited up for the third-most amount of games among players on Hershey’s roster this season.
— Bears Hockey Nation (@HBHNationBlog) April 10, 2022
Morelli’s 33 points ranked seventh best on the Bears’ roster, including absent players such as Axel Jonsson-Fjallby and Joe Snively. His points production smashed any of his previous records by a wide margin, going back to eight points in 31 games with the Stockton Heat during the 2019-20 season, and he has quickly found his niche in Hershey over the past two seasons. Morelli tallied his first postseason point during Hershey’s 2-1 win on home ice in Game 2 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. His third will look to be the best yet as the Bears build towards contending for another Calder Cup next season.
The signing is Hershey’s first of the summer and a big one. Morelli has steadily worked his way into not just a regular in the lineup but as a reliable player for head coach Scott Allen to play in any situation. His vast improvement makes his signing an easy priority for the Bears to get done early, and he should be in the mix for a consistent spot this season for his strong play.
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