When we visited Amway Center, we expressed hope that a hockey tenant would be forthcoming someday in the impressive facility. Our wish came true: Orlando has approved a three-year lease for an ECHL team, beginning in 2012-2013.
The Orlando City Council approved the Amway Center lease today. The team will be owned by Orlando Pro Hockey Operations LP, headed by Joseph Haleski, Bob Ohrablo and Tim Kuhl. Though an expansion franchise has not been yet awarded by the ECHL, if a group walks in with backing and a decent lease, you can pretty much bet approval is a foregone conclusion.
The team’s lease calls for a payment of $22,000 per game in the team’s first season and $25,000 per game in the second and third seasons. The city will run concessions and keep 80 percent of the revenue. Initially only the lower bowl (and the first suite level, we assume) will be open; if the team takes off and needs the second level the rent payment will increase by $10,000 per game.
Pro hockey has had a checkered history in Orlando. The Orlando Seals (ACHL/WHA2/SPHL) played at Amway Arena and then Kissimmee’s Silver Spur Arena before folding in 2007; before that the International Hockey League’s Orlando Solar Bears played at Amway Arena between 1995 and 2001 under the Orlando Magic ownership. Neither team drew particularly well.
Still, Amway Center is a great facility, and we’re guessing hockey will really pop there.
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