HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – On Saturday night, the reigning Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bears begin their 2023 season at home against the Belleville Senators at 7 p.m.

The opening night roster announced Friday consists of 16 players who helped the Bears to their 12th Calder Cup last season. Notable returning players include alternate captain Mike Vecchione, who scored the Game 7 overtime goal that sealed the cup for the Bears, Mike Sgarbossa, who led the team in scoring, and Ethen Frank.

On the defense, alternate captain Aaron Ness returns for his seventh season with the Bears and captain Dylan Mcllrath begins his third season with Hershey.

2023 playoff MVP Hunter Shepard is also back to guard the net for the Bears.

Forwards (19): 

  • Nic Aube-Kubel
  • Pierrick Dube
  • Ethen Frank
  • Ryan Hofer
  • Jimmy Huntington
  • Hendrix Lapierre
  • Alex Limoges
  • Ivan Miroshnichenko
  • Julian Napravnik
  • Dmitry Osipov
  • Garrett Roe
  • Henrik Rybinski
  • Mike Sgarbossa
  • Joe Snively
  • Matt Strome
  • Riley Sutter
  • Alex Suzdalev
  • Bogdan Trineyev
  • Mike Vecchione

Defensemen (9):

  • Logan Day
  • Hardy Haman Aktell
  • Vincent Iorio
  • Nicky Leivermann
  • Jake Massie
  • Dylan McIlrath
  • Aaron Ness
  • Chase Priskie
  • Colin Swoyer

Goaltenders (3):

  • Garin Bjorklund
  • Hunter Shepard
  • Clay Stevenson

Aube-Kubel is a former Philadelphia Flyer and Limoges is a Penn State men’s hockey alum.

Washington Capitals prospects in the lineup include Lapierre who was drafted 22nd overall in 2020 and Miroshnichenko who was drafted 20th overall in 2022. Capitals defensive prospect Iorio returns to the Bears and Aktell joins in his first Bears campaign.

There will be a Calder Cup Banner Raising Ceremony before the start of the game and the first 10,000 fans in attendance will receive a miniature Calder Cup Champions banner.