By John Denton
May 3, 2017
ORLANDO – Ensuring the popular franchise’s long-term future in Orlando and at the Amway Center, the Orlando Magic have purchased the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL.
It is the second time in the hockey franchise’s history that the DeVos Family – owners of the Magic since September of 1991 – have owned the Solar Bears. The DeVos family owned and operated the Solar Bears of the International Hockey League (IHL) from 1995-2001, winning a Turner Cup championship (2000-01), three Eastern Conference titles (1996, ’99 and ‘01), a division crown (1995-96) and an IHL-best 62.6 percent of their games in that six-year run.
The IHL ceased operations following the 2000-01 campaign, ending the DeVos’ family’s ownership tenure. Now, the leaders during the most successful stretch in franchise history are back on board to provide stability and support to the Solar Bears.
“We are thrilled to purchase the Solar Bears, giving the team the opportunity to continue to play in Orlando,’’ Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “The Solar Bears’ fan base has been outstanding and we look forward to an exciting future.’’
The Solar Bears returned on Nov. 1, 2011 when the ECHL’s Board of Governors unanimously approved Orlando as the site of an expansion franchise. Starting play in the ECHL in 2012, the Solar Bears have compiled a regular season record of 177-142-22-19 (.549) and qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in three of their five seasons.
“We are excited and grateful the DeVos family has agreed to purchase the Solar Bears to continue to grow the brand and expand the growth of the sport in Central Florida,’’ ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna said. “A track record of successfully operating professional sports franchises, an in-depth knowledge of the Orlando sports environment and as creators of the original Solar Bears brand, the Orlando Magic and the DeVos family are the ideal owners for the professional hockey team.’’
The Solar Bears are the affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League and Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL).
For ticket information for the 2017-18 season, log on to OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.com or call (407) 951-8200.
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