Orlando, Fla. – The Orlando Solar Bears, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, announced the launch of a new street hockey program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s Joe R. Lee Branch in Eatonville, Fla. Solar Bears forward Scott Tanski, defensemen Eric Baier and Carl Nielsen, and goaltender Garret Sparks joined Head Coach Vince Williams and Assistant Coach Danny Brooks for the announcement.
The Joe R. Lee Branch is the first of the Central Florida branches to receive donated street hockey equipment. Solar Bears players will be active in the future visiting the branch to teach their participating youth members the rules and fundamentals of hockey and to participate in their games.
"We are excited to work with the Boys & Girls Clubs and thrilled that the branch will add street hockey to their activity list," said Orlando Solar Bears Chairman Joe Haleski. "By adding street hockey the kids will have another fun and exciting sport to play. This program is certainly in step with our mission to continue the growth of hockey in Orlando and all of Central Florida."
A group of middle school aged kids from the Joe R. Lee Branch in Eatonville attended the Solar Bears game on Monday, March 9, to see professional hockey in action, and Solar Bears players will join the kids during each month of the regular season (this year and beyond) to teach new skills. The equipment donated by the Solar Bears includes sticks, nets, street hockey balls, and two full sets of goalie equipment.
The Solar Bears plan to expand the program to all branches of Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida in future seasons.