It's Official: Solar Bears are Back!

Photo by @Kaleta_DiceRoll via TwitterThe Orlando Solar Bears are making their return to pro hockey next fall, this time in the ECHL.

The announcement was made today at the home of the new franchise, the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla, in front of media and fans — one of which was kind enough to share this photo with us (right).

Whie the club is sticking with the name that brought the city hockey success during its brief existence in the International Hockey League, which folded in 2001, there will be a new logo and uniforms.

The team will unveil its team logos and jersey designs, announce its NHL and AHL affiliations, and introduce its coaching staff over the next 6-8 months.

The team has retained The Joe Bosack Graphic Design Company ( to design its primary and secondary logos along with new jersey designs and wordmarks. Joe Bosack designed the Colorado Avalanche logo and a number of current ECHL team marks.

Good news there because I don't think Joe Bosack's company has ever produced a bad logo. Can't wait to see what they come up with for the Solar Bears.

Orlando won't join the ECHL until next year, but they're getting a jump on marketing — with the slogan "Out of Hibernation!" — in order to sell season tickets and create awareness. They don't want to catch central Florida hockey fans by surprise when the team hits the ice in October 2012.

RIP old logo 1995—2001The Solar Bears will be the first in-state rival for the Florida Everblades since the Pensacola Ice Pilots went away a few years ago. (They have since been replaced by the semi-pro Ice Flyers of the SPHL.)

The Solar Bears will share their home with the Orlando Magic, and given the current state of the NBA, it's a shame they couldn't start play sooner. The Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League, also call the Amway Center home — which accounts for the gridiron in the above photo.

What do you think of today's announcement? Happy to see the Solar Bears name coming back? Sad to see that the rather colorful logo (left) is not?

And northerners, before you bemoan the addition of another hockey team to the south, remember that your retired parents live in Florida and still like hockey too.