The Minnesota Wild has added another minor league affiliate to help place its burgeoning pool of prospects within the organization.
The Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL will be Minnesota’s second minor-league affiliate beginning next season. Orlando is an ECHL expansion team and will make its debut during the 2012-13 season.
Fans of the old International Hockey League (IHL) will remember the Orlando Solar Bears from a decade ago, but this is an entirely new franchise connecting with Minnesota. The 2012-13 campaign marks the Solar Bears’ Out of Hibernation season.
Orlando will join the Houston Aeros of the American Hockey League as Minnesota’s minor league affiliates. The Aeros will be able to recall and reassign players from Orlando, similar in the way that the Wild recalls skaters from Houston.
Minnesota Wild Assistant to the General Manager Jim Mill, who also serves as the General Manager of the Houston Aeros, was on hand for the announcement today in Orlando.
“Central Florida has welcomed the Orlando Solar Bears back with open arms and we couldn’t think of a better atmosphere for our players to develop their skills in,” Mill said. “We are excited to welcome Jason Siegel, Joe Haleski and Bob Ohrablo (Orlando Solar Bears partners), and the Solar Bears fans into the Wild family.”
Ohrablo, Solar Bears Chief Operating Officer and Managing Partner, pointed to several reasons that the Solar Bears selected the Wild.
“We want to win,” exclaimed Ohrablo. “We strongly believe that affiliating with the Wild organization will provide us with a solid core of players from which we can build a competitive and exciting team for our fans.”
The Solar Bears will play its games at the Amway Center in Orlando. Check out the Solar Bears website, here.
Below is a list of former ECHL players that have played for the Minnesota Wild:
Drew Bagnall, 2010-11 (Reading)
Zac Bierk, 2000-01 (Augusta)
Sylvain Blouin, 2000-02 (Charlotte)
Derek Boogaard, 2005-10 (Louisiana)
Andrew Brunette, 2001-04, 2008-11 (Hampton Roads)
Todd Fedoruk, 2007-08 (Trenton)
Scott Ferguson, 2005-06 (Wheeling)
Kris Fredheim, 2011-12 (Victoria)
Derek Gustafson, 2000-02 (Jackson, Louisiana, Alaska)
Shane Hnidy, 2009-10 (Florida, Baton Rouge)
Nick Johnson, 2011-12 (Wheeling)
Matt Kassian, 2010-12 (Texas)
Anton Khudobin, 2009-11 (Texas, Florida)
Deiter Kochan, 2002-03 (Louisville)
Antti Laaksonen, 2000-04 (Charlotte)
Jamie McLennan, 2000-01 (Richmond)
Jason Morgan, 2006-07 (Mississippi, Florida, Stockton)
Maxim Noreau, 2009-11 (Texas)
Warren Peters, 2010-12 (Idaho)
Jeremy Stevenson, 2002-03 (Greensboro, South Carolina)
Jean-Guy Trudel, 2002-03 (Peoria)
Craig Weller, 2008-09 (Charlotte)