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Solar Bears owner discusses plans for Winter Garden rink

Solar Bears owner discusses plans for Winter Garden rink

For Solar Bears owner Jason Siegel, building a new Winter Garden practice rink and offices for the hockey team is more than a practical move. It's part of a mission.

"Our goal is to grow hockey," Siegel told GrowthSpotter.

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The public will be invited in for hockey, figure skating, skating classes, and Friday night DJ skating.

The 125,000-square-foot Orlando Hockey Center will compete with the Solar Bear's current practice home, the RDV Sportsplex Ice den in Maitland, where the team currently practices and has its offices and locker room. But Siegel says there is more than enough room in the market for both rinks. The team's research shows a potential market of 500,000 to 600,000 people and growing.

"We want the RDV to flourish," Siegel said. "We want Kissimmee (Ice Factory of Central Florida), Daytona (Ice Arena), Rockledge (Space Coast Ice Plex) to flourish."

He believes creating more venues for skating will offer more exposure for Florida youngsters and their parents to the sport, helping to grow the Solar Bear's fan base and introducing more young athletes to the sport.

The City of Winter Garden has signed off on the drawings for the Orlando Hockey Center to be built on 16 acres on East Crown Point Road off of the Plant Street exit from the 429 Expressway. Plans call for two rinks and an activity center, much like the RDV Sportsplex.

The team will continue to play games at the Amway Center, which Siegel said, is just a 15-minute drive from the Winter Garden site because of quick access to the toll roads. The land was bought by Deepcreek Partnership, owned by Siegel's partner in the Solar Bears, Joe Haleski.

The team has not broken ground or released a timetable for the construction and opening of the new rinks. It hired Baker Barrios Architect and engineering firm Dewberry Bowyer-Singleton of Orlando. It is in the process of choosing a general contractor.

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