NHL: ‘We’re very, very excited’ to open Orlando’s first NHL team

Orlando, Fla.

— Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer is announcing a major investment to transform the downtown area of the city into a vibrant entertainment district, where sports fans will be able to watch games from a comfortable, indoor seat.

The announcement was made Friday as the City Council is set to vote on the new team, which will open to the public in 2017.

Dyer has also said the NHL will invest $100 million in the area and open a $100-million stadium on the site of the old Anaheim Gardens.

He said the investment will also include a new arena that will be called the NHL Florida Experience and a hotel for the league.

The team will play its home games at the existing O’Connell Center, which opened in 1974.

The Orlando Predators, the NHL’s Florida affiliate, will join the NHL franchise, which is expected to have a franchise in Florida for the first time in 25 years.

The Predators are expected to make an announcement at a news conference at noon Friday.

The club also announced a partnership with the Florida-based entertainment company, Disney, to bring its brand of entertainment to Orlando.

Dyers said he’s been very pleased with the city’s progress in attracting new businesses and residents to the downtown and plans to continue working with the City of Orlando and the NFL to develop a more complete and comprehensive plan for the area.