PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced on today that Orlando Solar Bears have been sold from Orlando Pro Hockey Operations, LLC, an entity controlled by Joe Haleski, to Orlando Solar Bears, LLC, an entity controlled by the DeVos family and the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association.
From 1995-2001, the DeVos family owned and operated the Orlando Solar Bears of the International Hockey League (IHL). During their six seasons of existence, the Solar Bears captured one division title (Central Division, 1995-96), three Eastern Conference crowns (1996, 1999, 2001) and the IHL’s Turner Cup championship in 2000-01. Orlando compiled an all-time regular season record of 286-162-44 (.626), the best in the league over that time frame. The IHL ceased operations following the 2000-01 campaign.
“We are excited and grateful the DeVos family has purchased the Solar Bears to continue to grow the brand and expand the growth of the sport in central Florida,” said ECHL Commissioner Brian McKenna. “A track record of successfully operating professional sports franchises, an in-depth knowledge of the Orlando sports environment and as creators of the original Solar Bears brand, the Orlando Magic and the DeVos family are the ideal owners for the professional hockey team.”
“The ECHL would like to express its thanks to outgoing owner Joe Haleski for his efforts in bringing the Solar Bears back to Orlando and for his support over the last five seasons,” McKenna said.
“We are thrilled to purchase the Solar Bears, giving the team the opportunity to continue to play in Orlando,” said Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. “The Solar Bears’ fan base has been outstanding and we look forward to an exciting future.”