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.
Long before the Florida Panthers made him the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft, winger Jonathan Huberdeau made a name for himself starring for the Saint John Sea Dogs in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
In his second season with Saint John, the St-Jerome, Quebec native famously led the Sea Dogs to a President Cup championship and a MasterCard Memorial Cup title in 2011, where he was named MVP of the tournament after recording six points (3-3-6) in four tournament games.
In 2012, he captained the Sea Dogs to another President Cup championship.
With 195 regular-season games in a Saint John uniform, Huberdeau is still the Sea Dogs' all-time leader in points (257), while also sitting second in goals (104) and assists (153). He was named the team's Most Valuable Player in 2011 and won back-to-back Fans Choice Awards in 2011 and 2012.
Still, there was one junior accolade that had eluded Huberdeau… until now.
On Friday, the 24-year-old was honored as the first inductee into the new Sea Dogs Hall of Fame, a ceremony that will take place next summer in Saint John.
"This is obviously a huge honour for me," Huberdeau said in the team's official release. "So many great players have played here. Being the first inductee into the Hall of Fame means a lot. I had great teammates here, and the fans have been so wonderful to me. Saint John will always be a special place. The Sea Dogs have built a winning tradition and I'm proud to have been a part of it."
With parents and children officially in back-to-school mode this week, let's not forget that it's also almost time to head back to the BB&T Center for the 2017-18 season.
The Panthers will be holding an Open House from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, giving fans the unique opportunity to "test drive" and select their new seats for the upcoming season.
Florida's game plan benefits include:
- Discounts off single game pricing
- Interest free monthly payment plans
- NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Priority
With full, half and 11-game plans currently available, there is guaranteed to be a plan that fits every budget. In addition to selecting your seat, there will also be plenty of other fun attractions in the building, including games, activities and, of course, shopping in Pantherland. You can RSVP HERE or simply stop by on the day of the event.
We look forward to seeing you!
A proud beneficiary of the Community Champions Grant Program during the 2016-17 season, HANDY has touched the lives of over 50,000 children and family members in Broward County since 1985.
HANDY works with children and youth ages nine to 25 years old who have been removed from their homes due to domestic violence, substance abuse, physical and/or sexual abuse, and abandonment.
With their award-winning LIFE program, HANDY focuses on education, youth development and economic self-sufficiency in order to help provide customized programs designed to steward the program's participants from childhood to adulthood.
Recently, the Panthers paid a special visit to their friends at HANDY.
During the inaugural year of the Community Champions Grant Program, the Panthers donated more than $1 million to local organizations just like HANDY.
If you are an organization interested in joining our family and applying for the grant during the upcoming season, please visit FloridaPanthers.com/GrantApplication to learn more.
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
It might be the offseason, but the Panthers are always active in the community.
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- Alex Petrovic and Ian McCoshen are heading to Barbados to help the Panthers host the NHL's first ice hockey clinic in the Caribbean.
-- In the latest edition of our "Season Rewind" series, we take a look at winger Jonathan Huberdeau, who despite a devastating preseason injury returned to the ice to become one of Florida's most productive players on offense.
"I wanted to be effective out there when I came back," said Huberdeau. "It's been pretty good. You always want better and to help the team a little bit more, but overall it was a tough injury to come back from. I wouldn't say it's 100 percent yet, but just this summer is going to be huge for me to come back."
-- Panthers alumni will face off against the first responders of Coral Springs in the second 'Pucks for Bucks' charity hockey game at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs on Saturday, Sept. 16.
-- Single-game tickets are on sale now!