We're starting off this week with a little bit of breaking news.
Likely just around the time you were walking into work on Monday morning, the Florida Panthers announced that goaltender Roberto Luongo will have his fabled No. 1 jersey retired and sent into the rafters on March 7, 2020, when his hometown Montreal Canadiens visit BB&T Center.
"Roberto is a cornerstone of Panthers history and an icon of the game," Panthers Owner & Governor Vincent J. Viola said in the team's official release. "He has represented himself and the Panthers with tremendous dignity, determination and a standard of excellence throughout his career.
"Roberto exemplifies what it means to be a Florida Panther. His level of commitment to this franchise, his teammates, his family and the South Florida community is second to none. There is no player more deserving to be the first Florida Panther to have his jersey number retired."
After 19 NHL seasons, Luongo, 40, hung up his skates this summer, leaving behind a legacy that included the second-most games played by a goaltender (1,044) and the third-most wins (489) in league history. He is also one of just three goalies to compete in 1,000 NHL contests.
Luongo also stands as Florida's all-time leader in wins (230), shutouts (38) and saves (16,068).
"A true professional, competitor and gentleman, Roberto set the standard for players in this organization," Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon said. "There was never a question in any of our minds that Roberto would be the first Panthers player to have his number retired by the franchise.
"One of the game's most iconic goaltenders, he gave his heart and soul to the Panthers and the South Florida community and carried himself with dignity, modesty and humor. Roberto is most deserving of this honor and we are thrilled for him, and his family.
Click HERE to learn more about Luongo's latest honor.
Click HERE to buy tickets to the game.
FLEX ON 'EM
The Florida Panthers are giving fans the option to pick their own ticket plans this season.
With the recent introduction of the organization's brand-new "Flex Plans," it's now easier than ever to fit a trip to the rink into even the busiest of schedules. Whether you're looking to come on the weekend, weeknights or around the holidays, there's guaranteed to be package for you.
By selecting a "Flex Plan," fans can also save up to 27 percent on single-game ticket pricing.
"With today's pace of life, we're excited to be able to offer fans customizable 'Flex Plans,'" Panthers President & CEO Matthew Caldwell said in the team's official release. "Experience Panthers Hockey your way or catch every game with a full-season ticket package."
There are currently seven pre-made plans to choose from, but fans are also encouraged to take a swing at designing their own. When crafting your own package, we encourage you to use your imagination, with the only rule being that a minimum of 20 tickets must be purchased to qualify.
Video: FLEX PLANS
To give you a better idea of how some of these plans look, here's a few pre-made options:
The Premier Plan: If you're a fan of classic matchups, this is the 10-game plan is for you. From the Toronto Maple Leafs to the Boston Bruins, this package includes matchups against some of the most-recognizable teams around the NHL, with contests spread out throughout the season.
The "Thirsty Thursday" Plan: This plan was designed with party people in mind. The Panthers will host 12 $5 Beer Thursdays at BB&T Center this season, and this plan gets you access to all of them. So, get down to the rink and take in some hockey while sipping very affordable drinks.
The "Weekender" Plan: Are you always busy on school nights? Well, then this plan is for you. This fun package includes 10 of the best Saturday and Sunday home matchups all season long.
Those packages are three of seven current pre-made plans, but the possibilities seem infinite.
To check out pre-made plans, begin building your own or to learn more about the perks of "Flex Plans," please visit FloridaPanthers.com/FlexPlans or grab your phone and dial 954-835-7825.
For season tickets and all other inquiries, please visit FloridaPanthers.com/TicketCentral.
GAMBLING FOR A GOOD CAUSE
Have you ever wanted to play blackjack with Aleksander Barkov?
This is your chance!
The Panthers recently announced that they'll be hosting their third-annual "Ice and Dice" Casino Night, sponsored by BB&T and JetBlue, at BB&T Center on Monday, Nov. 4 beginning at 7 p.m.
As it's been in the past, the event will provide fans with a chance to rub elbows with Panthers players, coaches and broadcasters while enjoying live entertainment and casino-style games.
Fans must be at least 21 years old to purchase tickets and attend "Ice and Dice," with all proceeds from the event benefitting the Florida Panthers Foundation. For $200, fans are given a non-refundable ticket that includes food, beverage and access to casino games and auctions.
The dress code is cocktail attire, so do your best to out-dress your favorite player.
Video: 2019 Ice and Dice
"We're thrilled to be preparing for our annual 'Ice & Dice' Casino Night." Florida Panthers Foundation Executive Director Lauren Simone said. "With the excitement of the 2019-20 season approaching, this event gives fans the chance to interact and play casino games with their favorite players, coaches and broadcasters while supporting the Florida Panthers Foundation and its mission."
Tickets for "Ice and Dice" will be available for purchase starting on Sept. 6, but Season Ticket Holders will have an exclusive 48-hour window to purchase tickets beginning on Sept. 4. Fans interested in attending the event can visit FloridaPanthers.com or Ticketmaster.com for tickets. To request more information or to be notified when tickets are available, please click HERE.
A new week, a new pre-season article praising the Cats.
If you're a fan of fantasy hockey, then the powers that be over at NHL.com believe it's time to start thinking about picking up a few Panthers in the very early rounds of your 2019-20 draft.
In a recent ranking of the league's top-250 fantasy stars, NHL.com placed center Aleksander Barkov at 17, while goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky came in at 20. Forwards Jonathan Huberdeau (59) and Evgenii Dadonov (92) and defenseman Keith Yandle (84) also cracked the top-100.
Overall, eight members of the Panthers were ranked within the top-150.
To check out the full rankings, click HERE.
CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK
In honor of Purple Heart Day, Panthers staff members served lunch to more than 100 veterans.
Video: National Purple Heart Day Veterans Luncheon
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
On the latest episode of the Territory Talk podcast, Panthers President & CEO Matthew Caldwell stopped by the studio to chat about the franchise's offseason moves and more!
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- It's only August, but Aaron Ekblad is already ramping up his training for the 2019-20 season.
-- The Panthers' second-annual Summer Reading Tour was a huge hit among local children.
-- From two Vezina Trophies to five 30-win seasons, take a look at what the numbers tell us about new Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
-- Veterans at the West Palm Beach VA Hospital got a tasty surprise from the Panthers last week.
-- If you want to get your kids into hockey at an affordable cost, then the "Learn to Play" program is right up your ally. Look out for new sessions starting up at rinks throughout South Florida.
-- Former Panther Peter Worrell has been named Hockey Director of the Panthers IceDen.
-- A trio of Panthers prospects will be joining forces at Boston College in the fall.
-- Aleksander Barkov says there's "no more excuses" heading into the 2019-20 campaign.
-- Speaking of Barkov, he was recently listed as the fourth-best center in the league by NHL Network.
-- Last week's #WallPaperWednesday was all about Stanley C. Panther and Viktor E. Ratt!