Solar Bears and Toronto Maple Leafs end affiliation

Orlando's new NHL affiliate TBA

By Jordyn Reed - News 6 intern

ORLANDO, Fla. - After five seasons of affiliation, the Orlando Solar Bears and the Toronto Maple Leafs will part ways.

Both teams announced Thursday they will not be extending their affiliation agreement into the 2018-2019 season, according to a news release from the Solar Bears.

Solar Bears President Chris Heller said in a news release, “We want to thank the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies organizations for having us serve as their ECHL affiliate since the 2013-14 season. Having said that, we are excited as we begin a new chapter in Orlando Solar Bears hockey with the pending announcement of our new NHL and AHL affiliates for the upcoming season.”

Three former Solar Bears players – Garret Sparks, Christopher Gibson and Jack Rodewald – made their NHL debuts after spending time in Orlando while assigned by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies.

The Maple Leafs entered affiliation with the Newfoundland Growlers, which is an ECHL expansion franchise based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. They will begin play in the 2018-2019 season.

As for Orlando, an announcement will be made later this summer about the franchise's new NHL affiliate.

Season ticket memberships for Orlando Solar Bears hockey are now on sale. For more information, call (407) 951-8200 or visit orlandosolarbearshockey.com.

Copyright 2018 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.