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Solar Bears extend affiliate agreement with Toronto Maple Leafs

Thursday, May 5th
Solar Bears extend affiliate agreement with Toronto Maple Leafs

Orlando to continue as ECHL affiliate of NHL Maple Leafs and AHL Marlies

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears, proud affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, announced today that they have reached an agreement to continue their affiliation with both organizations through the 2016-17 season with an option for the 2017-18 season.

“Our relationship with the Solar Bears has been very beneficial,” Maple Leafs assistant general manager Kyle Dubas said. “There have been a number of players called up from Orlando who have helped contribute to a successful Marlies season. We’ve been extremely happy in the development of our prospects and in also working with head coach Anthony Noreen and the Orlando ownership and management.”

“We are thrilled about the opportunity to continue our affiliation with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies,” Solar Bears Chairman/CEO Joe Haleski said. “The players provided to us by both clubs will serve to enhance our efforts to bring a championship hockey team to Orlando.”

Last season, 16 players in the Maple Leafs/Marlies pipeline appeared in games with the Solar Bears: Zach Bell, Erik Bradford, Christopher Clapperton, Eric Faille, Brett Findlay, T.J. Foster, Rob Madore, James Martin, Brenden Miller, Max Nicastro, Jack Rodewald, Matt Rupert, Ryan Rupert, Garret Sparks, Brady Vail and Patrick Watling. Additionally, three players under ECHL contracts with Orlando received Professional Try-Out Agreements with the Marlies and played in AHL games, including Eric Baier, Ryan Massa and Rylan Schwartz.

The Solar Bears also celebrated their first player to make his NHL debut with Toronto as Garret Sparks posted a 24-save shutout in a 3-0 victory for the Maple Leafs vs. the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 30.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are one of the oldest and storied NHL franchises, and are recognized as one of the league’s “Original Six” teams. The franchise will celebrate its Centennial season during the 2016-17 campaign, and has captured the Stanley Cup an impressive 13 times, second most to only the Montreal Canadiens. Toronto boasts over 60 players who have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, including Darryl Sittler, Tim Horton, Johnny Bower and Mats Sundin.

The Solar Bears drop the puck on their fifth season of ECHL hockey on Saturday, Oct. 22 against the Florida Everblades at the Amway Center. On-sale dates for the purchase of single-game tickets will be announced later this summer. Full and half-season ticket plans are now available by visiting OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.com.

The Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL's Toronto Marlies, play all of their home games at the Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.

Follow the Solar Bears at www.OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.comFacebook, and Twitter (@OrlandoHockey) for all the latest news and updates. Stay in touch with Shades on Instagram by following ShadestheSolarBear.

Group tickets are a great way to entertain employees, co-workers, clients, friends and family. For more information on discounted group tickets and a list of group benefits, call 407-951-8200 or visit www.orlandosolarbearshockey.com/groups.

Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased online at: http://store.orlandosolarbearshockey.com/.

To read the Solar Bears Report to the Community, click here.

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