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Solar Bears to Seek NHL Affiliation for 2018-19 Season

June 14, 2018 - ECHL (ECHL) - Orlando Solar Bears News Release

ORLANDO, Fla. - After maintaining a relationship for the past five seasons, the Orlando Solar Bears and the Toronto Maple Leafs will not be extending their affiliation agreement for the 2018-19 season, both teams announced today.

"We want to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies organizations for having us serve as their ECHL affiliate since the 2013-14 season," Solar Bears president Chris Heller said. "Having said that, we are excited as we begin a new chapter in Orlando Solar Bears hockey, with the pending announcement of our new NHL and AHL affiliates for the upcoming season."

The Maple Leafs have entered into an affiliation with the Newfoundland Growlers, an ECHL expansion franchise based out of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador that will begin play in the 2018-19 campaign. An announcement regarding Orlando's new NHL affiliate for the 2018-19 season will be made later this summer.

Three former Solar Bears - Garret Sparks, Christopher Gibson, and Jack Rodewald - have made their NHL debuts after first seeing time in Orlando while assigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies organizations. In addition, Orlando has loaned several players on ECHL contracts to the Toronto Marlies over the course of the affiliation, including Hunter Fejes and Nolan Valleau during the 2017-18 season, while defenseman Sam Jardine signed an AHL contract with Toronto for the 2017-18 campaign after first agreeing to terms with the Solar Bears during the offseason.

Orlando Solar Bears affiliate history:

Minnesota Wild (NHL) & Houston Aeros/Iowa Wild (AHL): 2012-14

Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) & Toronto Marlies (AHL): 2013-18

2018-19 Season Ticket Memberships:

Season Ticket Memberships for the seventh season of ECHL Orlando Solar Bears hockey are now on sale. Full and Half-Season memberships are both available, starting as low as $270. For more information, call (407) 951-8200 or visit orlandosolarbearshockey.com.

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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