Solar Bears Owner Helps Fund Advancements in Pediatric Unit

Orlando, FL, Oct. 22, 2014 – Pediatric patients took to the ice when they stepped into the new Solar Bears themed playroom at Florida Hospital for Children. The new playroom is designed to be half ice rink, half Solar Bears locker room.

Through visits to Florida Hospital for Children, Orlando Solar Bears owner Joe Haleski and his wife Kate decided they wanted to make an impact in an even bigger way. The Haleski Foundation has made a $250,000, five-year commitment to Joe and Kate Haleski

Florida Hospital for Children to help fund advancements in the pediatric unit – the first of these advancements is the Solar Bears playroom.

The Haleski Foundation was established by Joe and Kate Haleski as a way for the entire Haleski Family to develop a long term giving plan that would approach donating to charities and non-profit organizations in a more thoughtful manner. Joe and Kate Haleski’s family is comprised of a number of nurses and medical practitioners including Kate, who was a medical surgical nurse; Joe’s mother Beth Ann, who was a pediatric nurse; and his aunt Margie Bourne who worked as a nurse at Florida Hospital from 1976 to 2006.

“We are so pleased to partner with Florida Hospital to name the playroom at their children’s hospital. Having a large number of care givers in our family, there was a strong consensus that naming the children’s playroom would provide a tremendous outlet for hospital patients and their families to escape from often serious medical issues and give them a place to play and have fun together.  It is our pleasure to provide this gift so that Florida Hospital can continue to care for those in need throughout Central Florida,” said Joe Haleski, Chairman and Governor of the Orlando Solar Bears.

Joe and his business partner and college friend Jason Siegel own and operate the Orlando Solar Bears and brought the hockey team ‘Out of Hibernation’ in Solar Bears RoomNovember 2011.  They play their home games at Amway Center in downtown Orlando.

“Florida Hospital has been one of the strongest supporters of Solar Bears Hockey  since our first days in the Orlando market.  They manage our training staff and team of doctors that look after our players and they have played a major role in our organization’s success,” said Jason Siegel, CEO and President of the Orlando Solar Bears.
Solar Bear players make several appearances at Florida Hospital and visit kids throughout the hockey season. Kate Haleski was passionate about decorating the playroom with a Solar Bears hockey theme.

“The decision to decorate the room in Solar Bears colors was an easy one.  Our players and our mascot Shades bring so much joy and excitement to our fans, especially the kids, every time we take the ice at Amway,” said Kate Haleski.  We wanted to share that excitement and bring the action to the kids being treated here at Florida Hospital.”

Design, production, and installation of the Solar Bears Playroom was made possible by Steven Hauck of Stellar Sign and Design. Solar Bears photographers Fernando Medina and Gary Bassing captured the images used in the room.

Marla Silliman, senior vice president and administrator at Florida Hospital for Children, said, “It is because of individuals like Joe and Kate Haleski that Florida Hospital is able to grow and thrive, and we are ever so grateful for their interest in creating a place where pediatric patients can escape their ailments to enjoy games and activities.”

Florida Hospital for Children is a full-service facility served by more than 130 pediatric specialists and a highly trained pediatric team of more than 1,000 caregivers and staff. This unique children’s hospital provides patients with private, family-centered pediatric rooms, a dedicated pediatric emergency department and an Advanced Center for Pediatric Surgery. The Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, in Orlando, delivers a complete range of pediatric health services for younger patients including advanced surgery, oncology, neurosurgery, cardiology and transplant services, full-service pediatrics, and an innovative health and obesity platform. The 200-pediatric bed facility serves as a destination for pediatric health care. For more information, please visit

The Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies, play all of their home games at the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year, the Amway Center.  Entering their third season of play in the ECHL, the Solar Bears have drawn 500,000 fans to their home games and have been third in the League in attendance each of their first two seasons. Since beginning operations in November of 2011, the Solar Bears have helped to raise and donate over $800,000 for the Central Florida community. To read the Solar Bears Report to the Community, click here.   Follow the Solar Bears at,Facebook, and Twitter (@OrlandoHockey) for all the latest news and updates. Stay in touch with Shades the Solar bears mascot on Instagram by following ShadestheSolarBear.