"They turned on one light for me, and it was just me with two pucks," Berehowsky said. "The rink guy said, 'Make sure you hit the net because [Maple Leafs owner] Harold Ballard is sleeping up there.' "
"I've revolved my whole life around hockey," said Berehowsky, 40. "I don't think there's words to describe how much passion I have for the game."
Berehowsky, who routinely arrives at the rink before sunrise, will lead the Solar Bears as they begin play in the ECHL, formerly the East Coast Hockey League, in October. He also will oversee the team's hockey operations.
"We think with his charisma and with his playing career, he will be a great teacher and a great leader," said Bob Ohrablo, Solar Bears chief operating officer and managing partner.
Berehowsky, whose parents didn't want him to play hockey for fear he would get hurt, was a defenseman throughout his 17-year pro career, which included stints with 16 teams. He played 12 seasons in the NHL for six teams: Toronto, Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Nashville, Vancouver and Phoenix.
He was traded five times in the NHL and torn an ACL in his knee three times.
"I've gone through some challenges, but that's what builds character, and it has made me the person I am now," Berehowsky said. "I had to reinvent myself a lot of times to play in the NHL."
Berehowsky, who said he would have been a teacher if he had not played pro hockey, always knew he would be a coach after his career ended.
He signed with teams in Germany and Sweden to learn different styles of play before his first foray into coaching, as an assistant in 2007 with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League.
"Sometimes with NHL players, they don't want to do the work,'' said Marty Williamson, then head coach and GM of the Colts. "One thing that stood out right away was how hard he worked."
Berehowsky spent three seasons as an assistant with the Peoria Rivermen before the Solar Bears hired him.
"He's a guy who would get in and have his workout done by the time I would get there at 6:30 in the morning," former Rivermen coach Jared Bednar said.
Berehowsky is in the process of moving his wife, Lori, and six children, all of whom are between 18 months and 8 years old, to Central Florida. All of his children's names start with D, including the youngest, Diesel.
"I always liked that name," he said. "[Lori] said if we have one more and it's a boy, you can do it, and I'm like, 'Here we go.' "
With Berehowsky's enthusiasm, the Solar Bears can say the same thing.