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The Solar Bears, an IHL team that played from ‘95 and finally skated off the ice in 2001 recently announced that they would return to the ice for the EHCL’s 2012 season. With a new state-of-the art Arena being designed The Amway Center, Hockey Fans in Central Florida needed a new identity for their classic team.

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The ECHL’s newcomer unveiled their new logos and team color scheme center court during the recent Orlando Magic vs. Chico Bulls game after the first quarter. The logos were presented by Orlando Pro Hockey Operations, LP partners: Jason Siegel, Joseph Haleski and Bob Ohrablo.

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PHOTO: © Fernando Medina & Gary Bassing

The rebranding project was a group effort bringing together youth hockey players, coaches, past Solar Bears season ticket holders and former Solar Bears employees and making them a key part in the planning stages and implementation, into the final production.

The focus of the project collectively was to pay tribute to the previous icon but give a modern refresh to start out the upcoming season. Keeping the team’s Mascot “Shades” was important in maintaining the brand integrity that the team had originally. Jason Siegel, President of Orlando Pro Hockey Operations, LP explains the teams take on the team’s mascot.

“Shades,” the team’s mascot, is once again the primary focus of the mark wearing his signature sunglasses while positioned in a different pose. He’s cool under pressure and confident. We combined the wordmark and the Solar Bears’ upper torso together to complete the primary logo. The illustrated “O” for Orlando, in the shape of the Sun, rests comfortably behind “Shades”. In our shoulder patch illustration, the “O” for Orlando is more obvious surrounding one of “Shades” paws.”

The new logo was designed by acclaimed leading sports graphic designer Joe Basack. Basack holds an impressive client base that includes names such as the NHL, MLB, NFL and NCAA. His mascot design sticks with the original and iconic teal and purple color scheme but makes it much more prominent and balanced with the addition of orange and the new bold blue lettering. The new “Shades” has a vectorized look and a more modern, approachable look to his body and expression.

“It’s great to be a part of the return of professional hockey to Orlando. Solar Bears fans have been waiting for this for a long time and our inspiration was drawn from their love and dedication to the previous identity. Our vision for the club was to create an inspired look that enhances the Solar Bears brand throughout Central Florida and beyond,” said Bosack.

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In addition to the hype of unveiling the new identity during the game, the logos were released on www.orlandosolarbearshockey.com through Clear Channel Outdoor. Numerous digital billboard locations were set to display the new logo as well.

“We at Clear Channel Outdoor are very excited about bringing the Solar Bears’ name back to Orlando,” explained Craig Swygert, President- Orlando Division, Clear Channel Outdoor. “We are very community-driven, and look forward to establishing a great partnership with the Solar Bears organization. We want to help this great community asset thrive. As a show of our support and to welcome the team back home to Orlando, we are excited to provide the opportunity to showcase the new Solar Bears logo to the city of Orlando on our entire Digital Billboard network. At 11:00pm, Friday evening, we will ‘freeze’ all 30 of our Digital locations for 1 minute on the new logo, just in time to reach all the patrons leaving the Amway Center after the Magic game as well as the rest of the Orlando area. We highly anticipate the first puck drop with the Solar Bears organization!”

The solar bears will have merchandise with the new logo available this spring with the entire line ready by opening night in October 2012.