TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning have extended its ECHL affiliation agreement with the Orlando Solar Bears, vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois announced today. The Solar Bears will continue to serve as the "AA" affiliate for the Lightning over the next two seasons. The defending back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions will also play a preseason game against the Florida Panthers at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center on Tuesday, October 5. Tickets for the game will go on sale to the general public at a later date.
"We are extremely grateful for our affiliation with the Solar Bears," BriseBois said. "Chris Heller, Drake Berehowsky and the entire organization provide a world class environment for our players to develop in a winning culture while also growing the game in the Sunshine State. The Lightning look forward to continuing our relationship with the Solar Bears for another two years."
"We are thrilled to continue our partnership with the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning," Solar Bears president Chris Heller said. "Julien BriseBois and his staff have been first-class partners, and we look forward to this affiliation helping us bring our first Kelly Cup title to Orlando, along with continuing to aid in the growth of hockey throughout Central Florida."
Tickets for the Lightning's preseason game at Amway Center will go on sale to the general public at a date to be announced. Exclusive pre-sales to Lightning, Solar Bears and Orlando Magic Season Ticket Members, as well as Magic Premium members will be offered.
The Bolts' return to Orlando will be the team's fourth exhibition game at Amway Center, home of the Solar Bears and the NBA's Orlando Magic, and their eighth appearance in Orlando overall. Tampa Bay's most recent game at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center was September 27, 2018, a 6-2 win over the Panthers.
Tampa Bay entered into its current affiliation with Orlando at the start of the 2018-19 season. That season culminated in a second consecutive trip to the second round of the Kelly Cup Playoffs for Orlando, and its longest postseason run to date. Since the start of the affiliation, 22 players have appeared with both the Solar Bears and the Syracuse Crunch, Tampa Bay's American Hockey League affiliate, and Orlando has posted a 104-83-16-3 (.551) record.
Prior to that the Lightning held ECHL affiliations with the Adirondack Thunder for the 2017-18 season, the Kalamazoo Wings for 2016-17, and the Florida Everblades from 2010-2013. The Lightning's very first ECHL affiliate was the Louisville Icehawks during the Bolts' inaugural season in 1992-93.
The Solar Bears are members of the ECHL, the premier "AA" hockey league in North America, and have qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs in five of nine seasons. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.