At the same press conference where new head coach Vince Williams was introduced in the flesh as the second coach in the team's ECHL era, the team announced a second National Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While those of us who perceive to be in the know thought that it
would be the New Jersey Devils -- citing Williams' seven years on the bench of the New Jersey Devils' Trenton affiliate and part-owner Jason Siegel's management ties with the team -- or the Philadelphia Flyers -- going on geography as it's the closest NHL city to Trenton -- but in the end, what the hell do we know. Maybe I was rooting for one of the ones to give this blog another Philly connection.
Monday's presser that the team will be hands-on in developing players in Orlando and will even have team staff making a presence during the season, something that we saw little to none of from the Minnesota Wild this past season.
"As an organization, we feel our Maple Leafs (um, Leaves?) prospects will surely accelerate their professional development while in Orlando," Loiselle said.
And then there's the outpost in Orlando. At least it's a place where it will be 70 degrees in January rather than .... well, the alternate.
"There's lots of hockey players out there," he said. "Moving forward as a team we just want to keep signing the right guys for the right reasons. We want guys who want to move up, to win a championship here and be successful. I learned quickly why I want to be here, but we have to get the right guys in here. This can be the right opportunity for guys who take advantage of it. It's going to "
It doesn't hurt to play in probably one of the best buildings in the ECHL.
"Obviously (the Amway Center) is a beautiful building. And the way Jason, Joe and Bob do business gives you an opportunity to want to be here. RDV Sportplex, for pro hockey, it's second to none. It's a great hockey market that continues to grow.
Williams attended the banner raising ceremony on Feb. 2 honoring the 2001 Turner Cup champ Solar Bears last season. He kinda had to -- his Trenton Titans were the opponent that night.
"I was blown away by the passion of the fans in the building," Williams said that night.
Williams led the Titans for two years after spending the previous 5 as an assistant coach there. The Titans were 21-41-4-6 in 2011-12 and improved to 32-32-4-4 last year, but neither mark was good enough to make the playoffs. To make matters worse, ownership ceased operations after the season.
"I feel good of what we accomplished there," Williams said. "We battle through things and developed 2 players to the AHL and two to the ECHL."
The Solar Bears currently have 10 players under contract for next season. Forwards Michael Neal and C.J. Severyn and defenseman Ryan Blair are coming back. Forwards Kyle Beattie, Tyler Murovich, Mike Ullrich and Ian Slater, the latter out of Satellite Beach, and defensemen Bryce Aneloski, Corey Fienhage and Joe Marciano have also been inked.