Orlando Solar Bears add Toronto as an affiliate


Bad news everyone. We now have to share Shades with Toronto.

Orlando announced Monday that the Solar Bears have added the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies (AHL) as affiliates. Toronto joins Minnesota, which has had Orlando as its ECHL affiliate since last year.

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

Previously, Toronto had its ECHL affiliation with the Reading Royals.

For the most part, this move has little bearing on Minnesota. There might be fewer spots for new Iowa Wild head coach Kurt Kleinendorst to send down players on AHL/ECHL contracts, but that is all. Orlando, which went 28-37-3-4 in the team's first ECHL season, has another source besides Minnesota and Iowa to send and develop players. Same goes with the Leafs and Marlies.

"I am very excited for the opportunity to work with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Marlies in developing their players and prospects in a great hockey environment here in Orlando," said Head Coach Vince Williams.

Then again, Shades gets to hang out with Carlton the Bear. A Solar Bear and a Polar Bear walk into a bar is enough of a punchline to make my Shades-loving heart break.
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Follow First Round Bust on Twitter @FRBHockey. You can also follow Nate @gopherstate for more Minnesota hockey updates and mascot discussion.

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