Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL)
|Orlando Solar Bears|
|Home arena||Amway Center|
Solar purple, seafoam green, sunset orange, sunrise gold, white|
|Owner(s)||RDV Sports, Inc.|
|Head coach||Drake Berehowsky|
|Media||Orlando Sentinel , WJRR, ECHL.TV,|
Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL)|
Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
|2012–present||Orlando Solar Bears|
The Orlando Solar Bears are a professional ice hockey team that plays their home games at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. They play in the South Division of the ECHL's Eastern Conference and are affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League and Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League.
Orlando Pro Hockey Operations, L.P. and primary owners Joe Haleski, Bob Ohrablo, and Jason Siegel, obtained an expansion franchise in the ECHL in November 2011. The team revived the name of the original Orlando Solar Bears, who played in the International Hockey League from 1995 to 2001. The franchise also retained the original colors of their IHL predecessor, while adding the color Sunrise Gold. They are Orlando's third professional hockey team, after the original Solar Bears and Orlando Seals (2002–2004). Together with the Florida Everblades of Estero and the Jacksonville Icemen, they are one of three ECHL franchises in Florida. They are the eighth ECHL franchise to have the name of a previous IHL franchise, joining four current teams (Cincinnati Cyclones, Fort Wayne Komets, Utah Grizzlies and Kalamazoo Wings) and three former teams (the defunct Phoenix Roadrunners and Long Beach Ice Dogs; and the Peoria Rivermen).
The Solar Bears utilize RDV Sportsplex Ice Den as their training facility and offices.
For their first season in 2012–13, the team became affiliated with the Minnesota Wild of the NHL and the Houston Aeros of the AHL. They hired former NHL player Drake Berehowsky as the team's first head coach. During their inaugural season, the Solar Bears post a 20–11–1–4 record on home ice; however, the team struggled on the road and missed the playoffs with a 28–27–7 overall record.
The Solar Bears then named Vince Williams, a former Solar Bears defenseman, as head coach for the 2013–14 season. They also added an affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs of the NHL and the Toronto Marlies of the AHL while also keeping the Wild as an affiliate. The Leafs extended their affiliation with the Solar Bears for an additional two years in 2014 and the Leafs became the Solar Bears' sole NHL affiliate.
For the 2015–16 season, Anthony Noreen became the head coach of the Solar Bears after guiding the United States Hockey League's Youngstown Phantoms to the league championship and being named USHL Coach of the Year. The Solar Bears also renewed their affiliation with the Maple Leafs and Marlies. The Solar Bears missed the 2016 playoffs and then started the 2016–17 season with a 5-5-1-0 record. On November 14, 2016, head coach Anthony Noreen was replaced by former Solar Bears' head coach Drake Berehowsky.
In May 2017, the DeVos family, owners of the Orlando Magic, agreed to purchase the Solar Bears when the Orlando Pro Hockey Operations, L.P. ownership group informed them that they could no longer sustain the team. The DeVos family were the owners of the IHL Solar Bears from 1995 through 2001.
In the 2018 Kelly Cup playoffs, the Solar Bears swept the South Carolina Stingrays to win their first playoff series, before losing to the regular season champions, the Florida Everblades, in the division finals. After the season, the Solar Bears and the Toronto Maple Leafs ended their five season affiliation when Toronto affiliated with the expansion Newfoundland Growlers team. The Solar Bears then affiliated with the Tampa Bay Lightning on a three-year agreement.
As with all ECHL teams, video of Orlando Solar Bears games are available on ECHL.TV, usually with a choice between home or away radio feeds for audio.
|Season||GP||W||L||OTL||SOL||Pts||GF||GA||Standing||Avg. Attendance||Year||1st round||2nd round||3rd round||Kelly Cup|
|2012–13||72||28||37||3||4||63||197||253||5th, South||6,668||2013||Did not qualify|
|2013–14||72||43||24||2||3||91||225||219||2nd, South||6,355||2014||L, 2–4, CIN||—||—||—|
|2014–15||72||37||25||6||4||84||236||215||4th, East||6,209||2015||L, 2–4, FLA||—||—||—|
|2015–16||72||33||30||4||5||75||224||232||3rd, South||6,226||2016||Did not qualify|
|2016–17||72||36||26||7||3||82||260||258||4th, South||5,498||2017||L, 3–4, FLA||—||—||—|
|2017–18||72||33||30||6||3||75||212||228||3rd, South||5,461||2018||W, 4–0, SC||L, 1–4, FLA||—||—|
|4||Robbie Baillargeon||C||R||24||2018||Enfield, Connecticut||Solar Bears|
|–||Corbin Boes||G||L||25||2018||Winnipeg, Manitoba||Solar Bears|
|–||Jared Fiegl||LW||L||22||2018||Parker, Colorado||Solar Bears|
|–||Corey Kalk||C||R||24||2018||Thornhill, Ontario||Solar Bears|
|–||Ryan Lough||LW||L||25||2018||Manotick, Ontario||Solar Bears|
|–||Rob Mann||D||R||25||2018||Oshawa, Ontario||Solar Bears|
|3||Mike Monfredo||D||R||28||2017||Shirley, New York||Solar Bears|
|–||Trevor Olson||RW||R||24||2018||Duluth, Minnesota||Solar Bears|
|19||Kyle Rankin||C||L||25||2017||Kanata, Ontario||Solar Bears|
|–||Alexandre Ranger||RW||R||23||2018||LaSalle, Quebec||Solar Bears|
|–||Brady Shaw||RW||L||25||2018||Ottawa, Ontario||Solar Bears|
|–||Tim Shoup||D||L||23||2018||Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania||Solar Bears|
|–||Ryan Siiro||F||R||25||2018||Bloomington, Minnesota||Solar Bears|
|18||Tayler Thompson||C||R||25||2017||Bredenbury, Saskatchewan||Solar Bears|
- "Magic, DeVos family will buy Orlando Solar Bears". Orlando Sentinel. May 3, 2017.
- "Expansion Membership Approved for Orlando". Orlando Solar Bears. November 1, 2011.
- Press release (November 16, 2011). "Orlando welcomes back the Solar Bears". ECHL. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
- "Out of Hibernation and into the Wild". Press Release. Orlando Solar Bears. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
- "SOLAR BEARS NAME NHL/AHL VETERAN DRAKE BEREHOWSKY AS HEAD COACH". Orlando Solar Bears. June 19, 2012. Archived from the original on March 24, 2013. Retrieved June 19, 2012.
- "Berehowsky leaves Wolves for top job in Orlando". Sudbury Star. November 14, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "Maple Leafs renew ECHL affiliation with Orlando". NHL.com. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- "ANTHONY NOREEN NAMED SOLAR BEARS' HEAD COACH". ECHL. June 30, 2015.
- "Solar Bears Extend Affiliate Agreement with Toronto Maple Leafs". www.orlandosolarbearshockey.com. Retrieved 2016-05-15.
- "Solar Bears to Seek NHL Affiliation for 2018-19 Season". OurSportsCentral.com. June 14, 2018.
- "SOLAR BEARS BECOME ECHL AFFILIATE OF TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING". ECHL.com. August 13, 2018.
- "Orlando Solar Bears Roster". Orlando Solar Bears. February 6, 2017. Retrieved February 6, 2017.