Thursday, January 31, 2013

Solar Bears honor Orlando's 2001 champions Saturday

The Orlando Solar Bears will close out the week on Saturday by hosting the Trenton Titans, but that's not why it's a big night for big fans of the team edition we've come to know as Solar Bears 1.0.

Oh what a night ... May 26, 2001.
The team will -- finally -- unveil the Turner Cup championship banner, the spoils of winning the International Hockey League title on May 26, 2001. There was no ceremony back then because, thanks to the movement of several IHL teams to the American Hockey League following the season, and the demise of a handful of others, the IHL folded about 20 minutes after the ice was cleared that night. The Turner Cup will be in the building; fans will have an opportunity to take pictures the Cup on the concourse level (although reps from the Hockey Hall of Fame will be chaperoning it, kids, so don't do something stupid like pour your $7.50 Miller Lite in the top and try to have a swig).

Am told that, "The pregame ceremony will begin promptly at 7 p.m. and fans are encouraged to be in their seats early." Here's hoping that this ceremony isn't rushed through -- as local hockey fans have waited nearly a dozen years to feel like champions -- in order to start the game on time.

Note to fans: be there around 6:30; better early and standing around than on-time and being late to "pick up what you paid for". Note to the boys with the team: just buckle, do this thing right, and start the game at 7:15ish.

Scott McKenzie, the old in-game PA announcer, will emcee the event. And team staff has said there will be other surprises. They've already hit us with one -- dropping the ceremonial first puck? Buckethead! ARE YOU #$%&ING SERIOUS?!? C'MON, MAN!! (At least have Barry Dreger come out and throw down the first gloves!)

They used to look like this.
But back to the pageantry, the team will be wearing throwback jerseys from the 2000-01 season on Saturday. It's a shame that we can't suit the old team up, like Dreger, Mark Beaufait, Hubie McDonough, Darcy Hordichuk and Norm Maracle, against Trenton. The Solar Bears 2.0 are playing better of late, but are still 12th in the Eastern Conference and have been besieged by injuries (goalie John Curry is hobbled and didn't play in Wednesday's OT loss) and the progression of the team's better talent to the AHL's Houston Aeros.

Speaking of Wednesday, the team turned 2 points into 1 when Marc-Olivier Vallerand stuff home a shot with 1.1 seconds left to tie the game at 3, then the Greenville Road Warriors won in a shootout.

1 comment:

  1. Admit I have not been a hockey fan...ever. however, I do remember going to the old solar bear games. Loved my parents taking me...will make sure and take my kids.


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