If you are an avid Minnesota Wild fan, you likely already know of their AHL affiliate, the former Houston Aeros/now Iowa Wild. However, you may not know of the big club’s other minor league affiliation with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL.
According to a release from the Solar Bears’ website:
The ECHL announced on Wednesday that Orlando and its hometown team, the Orlando Solar Bears, will host the 2015 ECHL All-Star Game at Amway Center on January 21, 2015, as well as a week-long schedule of events and festivities that accompany the game.
“We would not have secured this great win for our community without the leadership support exhibited by the City of Orlando and Visit Orlando,” said Solar Bears Managing Partner and CEO Jason Siegel. “On behalf of our ownership team, staff, season ticket holders, sponsors and fans, we especially want to thank the ECHL Board of Governors for their vote of confidence in our ability to host one of the League’s signature events.”
Previous All-Star Games have generated millions of dollars for the local economy as guests, players, coaches and fans occupy hundreds of hotel rooms and spend several days in the host city. The game also has been available live on the NHL Network, as well as broadcast on multiple regional networks and satellite radio.
“We all know the city of Orlando is a great winter destination,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “Couple that with a world-class arena and the strong following the Solar Bears have developed and we have a perfect location for our 2015 All-Star Classic. We are pleased to bring our flagship event to Orlando in January 2015.”
The Solar Bears completed their first season in the ECHL in 2012-13, finishing third in the League with an average attendance of 6,668 fans per game. Seven games throughout the season generated attendance over 8,500 fans.
“The selection of Orlando to host the 2015 ECHL All-Star Game is another testament to our community’s ability to host top-tier sporting events,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The ECHL All-Star game will further showcase our hometown hockey team, the Orlando Solar Bears, and a fan experience like no other at our state-of-the-art Amway Center.”
“We are delighted to be the presenting sponsor of the 2015 ECHL All-Star Game,” said Visit Orlando President & CEO George Aguel. “We look forward to continuing to partner with the Solar Bears, the City of Orlando and the Amway Center team to enhance the fan experience and maximize visitation for the game while leveraging the week’s events to heighten exposure for our destination.”
A press conference will be held in Orlando in the near future to unveil the All-Star Week schedule of events and festivities and to formally introduce the Organizing Committee and the All-Star Game presenting sponsor, Visit Orlando and supporters including the City of Orlando, Amway Center, the Downtown Development Board, the Central Florida Sports Commission, and Levy Restaurants.