NEW YORK -- As part of the League's commitment to preserve and support the local environments of host cities for NHL events, NHL Green announced today a legacy tree project at the 2015 NHL Draft in Sunrise, Fla.
In cooperation with the Florida Panthers Foundation, the NHL is donating 30 trees to represent each Club's commitment to sustainability. NHL Green first launched the initiative at the 2012 NHL Draft in Pittsburgh and continued the project in New Jersey (2013) and Philadelphia (2014).
This year's project will plant mature hardwoods and sabal palms, reminiscent of those featured on the Florida Panthers jersey shoulder patch. The State of Florida designated the sabal palm as the official state tree in 1953. The species is remarkably resistant to salt, cold, high winds and drought and requires little maintenance.
"The Florida Panthers are pleased to join NHL Green and the City of Sunrise in our efforts to promote a greener community at Welleby Park," said Executive Chairman Peter Luukko. "We appreciate the NHL's commitment to help beautify Welleby Park for the residents of Sunrise."
The Panthers and City of Sunrise identified Welleby Park as the site for the planting, to provide shade to a new walking path along the water, which was partially constructed with recycled tire rubber. The park is a centerpiece of the community, home to a number of annual special events including the Fall Festival and The Woodstock Arts & Crafts Festival.
"We are honored to host the 2015 NHL Draft and extremely appreciative of the League's generous gift of 30 native trees," said Sunrise Mayor Michael J. Ryan. "The trees are a welcome addition to Welleby Park that will certainly benefit residents and visitors of all ages. They will also serve as a long-standing tribute to our partnership with the Florida Panthers and the National Hockey League."
"We hope these trees serve as a visible reminder of hockey's commitment to preserving and defending our environment," said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. "The NHL Green Legacy Tree Project represents the continuation of our efforts to enhance the health, livability, and long-term sustainability of NHL communities."
A news conference for the tree planting will take place at Welleby Park this afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Among those expected to attend: Commissioner Bettman; Luukko, Executive Chairman of Sunrise Sports and Entertainment; and Rory Babich, Florida Panthers CEO and President.
The Florida Panthers, BB&T Center, City of Sunrise and National Hockey League will host the 2015 NHL Draft beginning tonight at 7:00 p.m.