Stanley Cup on hand during Solar Bears All-Star event

By : Steve Blanchard
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Orlando – Hockey fans will have plenty to celebrate during the All-Star Classic, which pits the Orlando Solar Bears against a mix of all-stars from clubs throughout the East Coast Hockey League. As an added bonus, the Stanley Cup will be on hand throughout the week-long event and fans will have an opportunity to be photographed with the iconic hockey prize.

“The cup itself has a curator, Phil Pritchard of the Hockey Hall of Fame,” explained Jason Siegel, CEO of the Solar Bears, adding that a strong relationship with the Hall of Fame helped secure the cup for the four-day hockey exhibition. 

The cup arrives on Monday, Jan. 19, where it will make a number of visits in Orlando—first at the Florida Hospital for Children. On Tuesday, Jan. 20, it appears at Orlando City Hall and then makes its way to Fanfest, held inside the Disney Atrium at the Amway Center from 5-10 p.m. There, fans will get their photo opportunity with cup.

Siegel is confident that the impact of the cup—and the all-star event itself—will be an economic boon to Orlando, just as similar sporting events in recent years.

“One of our initiatives and things we had on our to-do list was to get a major national event,” Siegel explained, adding that the Solar Bears played their first game in October 2012. “We wanted to do our part in helping bring an event like this to Orlando.”

The Solar Bears worked with Visit Orlando, the City of Orlando, Orlando Venues and the Sports Commission, to name a few, to bring the national All-Star Week to the city. Now, with the opening day just days away, there is no turning back.

“We have a countdown clock on our website,” Siegel said. “We’ll peek at that and it gives us all the same feeling of opening night. We know that date isn’t moving.”

The All-Star game itself begins at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 21. Ticket prices range from $15-$85 and Siegel is hopeful that the game will break records for the hockey club.

“We could break the league record [for attendance], which would let us open the upper bowl,” Siegel said. “If it all falls into place, we’ll announce that new record for the league during the game.”

Other announcements are scheduled that night as well. The Solar Bears will honor their fans by announcing that $1 million has been given back into the local marketplace for non-profits in just three years and each of those non-profit groups will get recognition.

“We’re proud of that and we have close relationships with 18-19 nonprofits with which we’ve sat on boards,” Siegel said. “We want to thank them for all they do for the community.”

Sports organizations have seen an evolution in recent years of LGBT acceptance, and the Solar Bears are no exception, according to Siegel. He said that while there are no out players yet, the only requirement to play with the club is to have skills on the ice.

“My own personal feeling is, if you can play the sport, then you can play,” he said. “It is just that simple.”?

The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports Florida, as well as the NHL Network.

For more details on the Solar Bears’ All-Star Week, visit OrlandoSolarBearsHockey.com. To purchase tickets to the All-Star Game, visit TicketMaster.com or call 407-951.8200.

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