Lightning Obtains New Minor League Affiliate

Lightning Obtains New Minor League Affiliate

Jordan Dabbour, Staff Writer & Social Media Coordinator

Tampa Bay, Fla.–The Tampa Bay Lightning have acquired a new minor league hockey team from the Toronto Maple Leafs and this team will play in Orlando, Fla. as the Orlando Solar Bears.

In May 2017, the owners of the Orlando Magic basketball team agreed to purchase the Maple Leafs East Coast Hockey League’s hockey team. The Maple Leafs had ended their five season affiliation with the Solar Bears. Toronto had agreed to expand their minor league affiliate teams with a new team called the Newfoundland Growlers.

In 2018, the Tampa Bay Lightning agreed with the Orlando Magic owners to purchase the Solar Bears to a three-year agreement. Now the Lightning have two minor league affiliates, the Syracuse Crunch and the Orlando Solar Bears.

The Orlando Solar Bears now play at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. as the team becomes Orlando’s third hockey team in Orlando’s history. The head coach of the Solar Bears is Drake Berehowsky, with the owner of the team being RDV Sports, Inc. This puts the Tampa Bay Lightning in good hands with their minor league affiliates.

Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel
The Solar Bears’ Colby McAuley shoots during the team’s game against the South Carolina Stingrays Tuesday night at Amway Center.

On October 16, 2018, the Solar Bears lost a game to the South Carolina Stingrays, though it was a close game with the final score being 6-5. The goals for the Solar Bears came from Nolan Valleau, who scored two goals. The others came from Brady Shaw, Colby McAuley and Hunter Fejes. The Solar Bears almost pulled it off. The Solar Bears record is one win so far with two losses.