Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment, presented by Koffee Kult, in which we serve up an exciting look at what's on deck for your Florida Panthers. Like our friends at Koffee Kult, this forecast serves up only the best -- so sit back, sip and enjoy our latest brew of news, notes and information!
After a seemingly endless summer, the ice is finally coming back to BB&T Center.
With a fresh sheet set to be installed this week, the Florida Panthers will mark the occasion with a special Select-a-Seat event at the arena from 12-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28. That's right, you have a chance to bask in the glow of the brand-new ice even before all the players get to!
If you're considering joining in on the fun, fans interested in purchasing season tickets for the team's ultra-hyped 2019-20 campaign -- one that has pundits picking the Panthers to make a glorious return to the playoffs - I'd suggest filling out the RSVP form that you can find HERE.
Also, this seems like a good time to remind you that we're getting closer and closer to Florida's home opener, an exciting matchup against the cross-state rival Tampa Bay Lightning on Oct. 5.
See you there!
READY TO RUN
This is one "rat race" you'll actually enjoy.
In conjunction with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Panthers recently announced that they'll be hosting their fourth-annual Viktor E. Dash on Sunday, Nov. 24 at BB&T Center.
The 5K race is scheduled to get underway at 8 a.m., while the one-mile race will begin a bit later at 8:45 a.m. You can pick up your race packet outside the arena starting at 7 a.m. All racers that participate in the run will receive a special Viktor E. Dash T-shirt and a custom finishers' medal.
The one-mile race, named the Peggy Ziady Memorial Walk/Run, will take place in memory of the Panthers Director of Human Resources & Payroll Peggy Ziady. Peggy, who spent 12 years working for the Panthers, was a colleague, friend and mentor to every life she touched.
If you are interested in participating in this event, but cannot attend in person, a virtual running option is also available. How does that work? It's actually very simple. All virtual runners commit to running a 5K on their own schedule and will receive a race goodie bag via mail at a later date.
Registering is currently open for the race at a cost of $35 for applications submitted prior to the race and $45 for those who wait until the day of the event. All racers will also receive one ticket to Florida's Nov. 24 matchup against Buffalo or the club's Dec. 10 matchup against Tampa Bay.
A portion of all registrations will benefit the Florida Panthers Foundation.
If you are interested in participating in the Viktor E. Dash, sign-ups can be found HERE.
A DREAM COME TRUE
Nicole always wanted to be a figure skater.
Last weekend, she starred in her own show.
Currently suffering from a brain tumor, the 7-year-old skated in front of a packed house at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs, a special night put together by Make-a-Wish South Florida.
Of course, Stanley C. Panther also showed up to cheer her on.
"Everyone is calling me Nicole, but I don't know them!" a very excited Nicole said everyone that came out to show their support, according to Make-a-Wish South Florida's Facebook page.
You did great, Nicole!
SPECIAL HOCKEY CLINIC
The Panthers Community Relations team has presented a series of Special Hockey Clinics across South Florida to give new participants the chance to try hockey for the very first time.
This past Sunday, almost 20 children and adults with varying abilities were putting on skates and sharing smiles as they hit the ice and gave hockey a chance at the Panthers IceDen.
"We're here with our partners at the Friendship Journey," said Matthew Janusz, the Youth Hockey Manager for the Panthers. "Their membership group is here to try skating for the first time, play with hockey sticks, score some goals and have a good time and get involved with something they might have never thought they'd be involved with in their life."
Stanley C. Panther, the Roar Corps and many others were on the ice to support and teach these new skaters about the finer points of hockey, guiding the groups through each step.
"We have great volunteers here from the Friendship Journey," Janusz said. "From our local hockey leagues, high school, travel and rec hockey, local coaches, figure skaters and more who want to be involved. We couldn't do this without them."
Stay tuned for more information and ways to get involved with Special Hockey.
GOING ALL IN
You can't beat them on the ice, but maybe you'll have better luck at the poker table.
The Panthers will be hosting its 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., giving fans a chance to challenge the organization's players, coaches and broadcasters in poker, blackjack and more.
There are, of course, a few ground rules.
You must be at least 21 years old to purchase a ticket and attend "Ice and Dice." The cost of entry is $200, but for that fee you are given a non-refundable ticket that not only gets you up close and personal with players, but also food, beverage and access to games and auctions.
The dress code is cocktail attire, so leave the jersey at home for this one.
Video: 2019 Ice and Dice
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.
CATS CLIP OF THE WEEK
What's the difference between group nights and promo nights?
This fun and informative video will help erase any confusion!
Video: Group Night vs Promo Night
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
Whether you're a big fan of fantasy hockey or just the Panthers, you're not going to want to miss this week's episode of the Territory Talk podcast featuring NHL.com fantasy editor Rob Reese.
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- The Panthers have acquired defenseman Gustav Bouramman from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for future considerations.
-- Foundation Update: There is a disorder impacting Florida panthers and bobcats. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is looking for help getting to the bottom of it.
-- In a wonderful joint effort between the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, the Broward County Aviation Department and the Florida Panthers, the new "Territory Takeoff" art wall can be found in Terminal 2 of the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
-- New Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman is settling into his new life in South Florida.
-- Are your kids interested in playing hockey? The "Learn to Play" program is the perfect starting point.
-- It's easer than ever to fit Panthers hockey into your busy schedule with a Flex Plan.