Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment presented by Community Coffee in which we get you caffeinated with an exciting look at the week ahead for the Florida Panthers.
If you haven't been watching Home Team, you've been missing out.
A four-episode mini-series, Home Team: Florida Panthers has provided fans with an incredible all-access look at what was going on behind the scenes as the club made their final, passionate push towards the playoffs.
Home Team: Florida Panthers marks the NHL's second collaboration with NowThis Sports, a media property of NowThis. In October 2017, the NHL and NowThis partnered to launch Home Team: Vegas Golden Knights to follow the start of the league's newest franchise's inaugural season.
The first three episodes of Home Team: Florida Panthers have already been released and can be seen on NowThis Sport's Home Team Facebook Watch page or on the NHL Network's NHL Now (via YouTube, NHL.com or NHL Network). The final episode will air later this week - stay tuned!
In the latest episode, the NHL and NowThis Sports crew followed the Panthers as they fought to stay alive in the playoff race with a pair of huge wins against Carolina and Nashville at home, while also focusing on the off-ice impact the team has had on the local community in the wake of the unimaginable tragedy that occurred in nearby Parkland, especially with the school's hockey team.
Video: As the season wanes, Florida faces must-win games
Fred Guttenberg, who tragically lost his daughter in the shooting, is featured in the episode and discusses not only the affect the Panthers have had on his son's hockey team, but also the healing process as a whole.
Following the shooting, Mr. Guttenberg started a charitable organization known as "Orange Ribbons for Jaime" in honor of his daughter. The charity supports not only Jaime's passion - dance - but also anti-bullying and violence in schools.
You can learn more about "Orange Ribbons for Jaime" HERE.
TAKING OVER THE WORLD
The season is over, but many of your favorite Panthers will return to the ice soon.
With the 2018 IIHF World Championship set to kick off on May 4 in Copenhagen and Herning, Denmark, coach Bob Boughner and defenseman Aaron Ekblad have both already agreed to join Team Canada in their quest for a gold medal.
Boughner, who led the Panthers to a 44-30-8 in his first season behind the bench in South Florida, will serve as one of Canada's assistant coaches, joining a staff that features Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters and Blues head coach Mike Yeo.
"It's an honor," Boughner said. "I got to work with Hockey Canada a while back at the U-18. I was a head coach for Ivan Hlinka and I enjoyed every minute of it. It's special to be able to work for your country and put that logo on."
Ekblad, 22, is coming off a resurgent season in which he posted 16 goals and 22 assists while playing in all 82 games for the first time in his career. He last suited up for Team Canada at the 2015 World Championship, helping the team capture a gold medal in the Czech Republic.
At last week's locker cleanout, it was announced that centers Vincent Trocheck (USA) and Aleksander Barkov (FIN) will not be competing at this year's World Championship after playing some of highest minutes among NHL forwards.
Still, other players such as Mike Matheson (CAN), Evgenii Dadonov (RUS), Nick Bjugstad (USA) and Denis Malgin (SWI) could potentially be competing in the upcoming tournament, although it remains to be seen who will be invited.
"There have been a few other guys that have been considering," Boughner said.
Stay tuned to FloridaPanthers.com and @FlaPanthers on Twitter for updates.
JOIN THE TERRITORY
There's never been a better time to become a Season Ticket Holder.
Join the Panthers as they celebrate their 25th anniversary during the 2018-19 season and enjoy all the benefits that come with being a Season Ticket Holder, such as merchandise discounts, exclusive savings on concessions and priority access to concerts and events.
"We're here because of your commitment," said Florida Panthers President & CEO Matthew Caldwell to season ticket holders. "Your support and passion for hockey in South Florida means the world to us and we are honored to have you as a part of our family. We look forward to having you as a part of this historic 25th anniversary season, while making exciting new memories."
Visit https://www.nhl.com/panthers/tickets or call (954) 835-PUCK to learn more.
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
Video: Beach Clean Up
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- The Panthers are "ready to take it to another level" next season.
-- Guess who's coming back? Roberto Luongo excited to return for 19th NHL season.
-- What went down at the Panthers' locker cleanout? Check out the latest episode of "Territory Talk" below to find out!