Solar Bears announce second NHL affiliate in Maple Leafs

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Photo Credit: Mike Gramajo

Vince Williams (far left), Claude Loiselle (middle left), Solar Bears president and CEO Jason Siegel (middle right) and managing partner Joe Haleski (far right).

Hockey was back in the Amway Center on Monday, even if the ice rink wasn’t laid out.

The Orlando Solar Bears held a press conference Monday afternoon and announced the addition of their second NHL affiliate in the Toronto Maple Leafs, along with their AHL affiliate Toronto Marlies.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the Solar Bears,” said Maple Leafs Vice President and Assistant General Manager Claude Loiselle in a press release. “As an organization we are confident that our Toronto Maple Leafs prospects will accelerate their professional development in Orlando”

The Maple Leafs will join the Minnesota Wild in feeding the Solar Bears prospects during the 2013-2014 season.

Orlando also formally introduced new head coach Vince Williams during the press conference. Williams was signed to replace Drake Berehowsky, who left the team to go coach the Western Hockey League’s Lethbridge Hurricanes last month.

Williams played in four games for the Solar Bears during the 2000-2001 Turner Cup winning season, notching one assist and four penalty minutes with a plus-minus of +1 according to HockeyDP.com.

Forward Ian Slater was also introduced to the media on Monday. The new Solar Bears forward is from Satellite Beach on Florida’s Space Coast and is excited to have an opportunity to play so close to home.

“This an unbelievable opportunity to come back and play at home where I kicked everything off,” said Slater after the press conference. “I’m excited for the opportunity and to get the season going.”

So far this offseason Orlando has agreed to terms with 10 players including newly acquired defensemen Bryce Aneloski and Corey Fienhage.