“We are extremely happy to welcome the Orlando Solar Bears into the Lightning organization today,” said Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman in a press release. “The Solar Bears organization has demonstrated a strong commitment to success that has paid off with numerous playoff appearances. We look forward to being a part of their future accomplishments while also developing our prospects in a world-class environment.”
“We are incredibly excited for this new partnership affiliation with the Tampa Bay Lightning,” said Alex Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic, owners of the Solar Bears. “The Lightning is a first-class organization with tremendous values and vision and we feel very fortunate to have this opportunity to be a part of their hockey family.”
Added Dan DeVos, chairman of the Orlando Magic, “This is a great day for the Orlando Solar Bears. We couldn’t be more excited to form this partnership with a model franchise like the Tampa Bay Lightning.”
The Solar Bears replace the Adirondack Thunder as ECHL affiliation of the Lightning. The team’s AHL affiliate is the Syracuse Crunch. The Lightning replaces the Toronto Maple Leafs as the Solar Bears parent.
As part of the deal, the Lightning will play a preseason game against the Florida Panthers at Amway Center in Orlando on Thursday, September 27.