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A Great Thanksgiving Turnout

by Glenn Odebralski / Florida Panthers

It's Thanksgiving time once again and while a lot of people will be focused on spending time with their families and giving thanks, hundreds of youth hockey players and their parents will be focused on that and a little bit more.

That's because they will be heading to the Iceplex in Coral Springs for the JR Panthers annual Thanksgiving Tournament. This year, in fact, the tournament will have the largest turnout in it's history as 72 teams will partake in the four day affair starting on Thanksgiving Day.

"I am excited to see the number of teams registered for this tournament. That coupled with the fact we will have games at the BB&T Center will add to the excitement of our tournament," said JR Panthers General Manager Jeremy Mylymok recently. "We have a large number of teams coming in from Canada and we are excited to host a tournament of this caliber here in South Florida."

Yes the majority of the teams in attendance will be from all over Florida, but that doesn't mean it's a regional tournament for the teams in age groups from Minor Squirt all the way up to U18.

"We have eight teams from Ontario, Canada and a team from North Carolina," said Mylymok. "It will be the biggest tournament we have hosted and we look forward to seeing all of these teams here at our great facility."

With the amount of teams making their way to South Florida, the JR Panthers had to branch out some of their games and some teams and players will get a chance to skate on the ice at the BB&T Center, home of the NHL's Florida Panthers.

"Having games at the BB&T Center will be a special occasion for our players. I still remember the first time I skated in an NHL rink. I was playing in a Squirt travel hockey game at the old Great Western Forum in Inglewood, CA…home of the LA Kings," said Mylymok. "Travel Hockey offers kids many unique opportunities and as you can tell my first experience in an NHL rink has stuck with me.

"This will be many players’ first time on an NHL Rink and we are glad to be able to give them this special opportunity!"

Talk about a weekend of making memories.

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