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It’s official: ECHL expands to Orlando for ’12-’13

ECHLTwo weeks after the Orlando City Council approved a lease for an ECHL team at Amway Center, the league announced an expansion franchise was unanimously approved for the 2012-2013 season.

The Orlando membership is owned by Orlando Pro Hockey Operations, L.P., an entity controlled by Joe Haleski, Bob Ohrablo and Jason Siegel. We reported on the lease two weeks ago.

“We are pleased to welcome Orlando to the ECHL,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “The combination of a strong market, a world-class sports facility in the Amway Center and a strong ownership group led by Joe Haleski, make this a very welcome addition to our southern geography. With decades of combined experience, this seasoned management group is well suited for the challenge of starting and operating a successful team in this major market over the long term.”

“On behalf of our partners, we are excited to be able to bring professional hockey back to Orlando and Central Florida,” said Bob Ohrablo, managing partner of Orlando Pro Hockey Operations, L.P. “We look forward to thousands of fans joining us in downtown Orlando for each home game at the Amway Center. We will provide an exciting team in a fun atmosphere at family-affordable prices.”

“I am excited that the City of Orlando will once again be home to professional hockey,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The new Amway Center was designed with the goal of adding a hockey team and features amenities specific to hockey. We look forward to showcasing the new state-of-the-art Amway Center to hockey fans here in Central Florida and giving them an experience they will never forget.”

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.

RELATED STORIES: Orlando approves ECHL lease for Amway Center


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