The Orlando Solar Bears has ceased business operations, RDV Sports COO John Weisbrod announced today.
The Solar Bears became a member of the International Hockey League in December of 1994. Since beginning play in 1995-96, Orlando compiled an all-time regular season record of 286-162-44 (.626), the best mark in the IHL during that time frame.
In six seasons, the Solar Bears captured one division title (1995-96 Central Division), three Eastern Conference crowns (1996, 1999, 2001) and the 2001 Turner Cup championship. Orlando also advanced to the IHL Playoffs every year. The International Hockey League, which was founded in 1945, ceased operations on June 4, 2001.
The Solar Bears completed a historic 2000-01 season by defeating Chicago, 4-1, to capture its first Turner Cup championship. Orlando picked up numerous postseason accolades along the way. Goaltender Norm Maracle was named IHL Most Valuable Player during the regular season and playoffs, defenseman Brian Pothier earned both the IHL’s Rookie of the Year and U.S.-born Rookie of the Year awards, while Peter Horachek picked up the IHL Coach of the Year.
Other Solar Bears highlights have included: becoming the first Eastern Conference expansion team to reach the Turner Cup Finals (1996), posting a 16-game winning streak in 1996-97 (the third-longest winning streak in professional hockey history), and becoming the first and only team in IHL history to win a seven-game playoff series after overcoming a 3-0 deficit (1999 Eastern Conference Finals vs. Detroit).
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It’s always fun to go back and look at a team’s drafts and see if they glaringly over-looked a player or made the right choice.
By no means is this ever a total indictment upon a teams scouting department, since most of the time teams will draft for specific needs, and having a near perfect 20/20 hindsight is another disservice to the pressures of being on the clock during the draft.
Below is an analysis of the Panthers history at the draft table, to see how the team could have been different if the scouts had the amazing clarity that time affords. To keep things somewhat realistic, the analysis will be limited to the 5 picks after the original pick. A player like Adam Deadmarsh went 14th overall in ’93, and if the draft was redone with the hindsight, he probably would have gone in the top 5, but in 93, 13 teams passed over him since he wasn’t rated that high back then.
In this exercise for entertainment purposes only, comment are only made on a pick if it turned out a better player could be had. Another thing to consider is that a passed over player might not have developed unless he was in the right situation as well. There will be instances where the pick was exactly dead-on correct. Again, this is for entertainment purposes mainly and is the total benefit of 20/20 hindsight.
5th – Robbie Neidermayer
Players taken in the next 5 spots are as follows: Kozlov, Arnott, Sundstrom, Harvey and Thibault. While Robbie hasn’t lived up to his expectations to be a scorer, he is a physical and defensive minded pre Read more»
The Phoenix Coyotes have signed defenseman Martin Grenier to a mulit year contract. Grenier became an unrestricted free agent after he failed to sign with Boston before the June 1st deadline for all 1999 draftees. The 20 year old Grenier, selected in the 2nd round of the 1999 draft by the Colorado Avalanche and dealt to the Bruins in the Ray Bourque deal, just completed his 4th season of junior hockey.
The 6’5 245 pound Grenier played 26 games for the Quebec Ramparts and 28 for the Victoriaville Tigres this past year. He is now one of the biggest players in the Coyotes’ organization, and they are glad to have him. He will likely see time next season in the AHL but it is possible he could crack the Coyotes’ defense during camp.
Other News: As expected the Phoenix Coyotes failed to sign Scott Kelman, the club’s 1st choice in ’99, 15th overall. Since they did not sign him, they will receive the 45th overall pick in this year’s draft as compensation. Also, Preston Mizzi was not signed as well.