SUNRISE, FL – The Florida Panthers announced today their 82-game 2009-10 regular season schedule, highlighted by 23 home games on either Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. It marks Florida’s 17th year in the NHL and 11th season at the BankAtlantic Center, since the venue opened in 1998. The 2009-10 season is presented by Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.
Florida opens the 2009-10 as one of four teams (Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis) who will participate in the Compuware NHL Premiere Series that takes place in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. The Panthers will play the Blackhawks in a home-and-home series on Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3 in Helsinki at the Hartwall Areena.
The Panthers open regular season competition in North America on Friday, Oct. 9, when for the second consecutive year, they visit their Southeast Division rivals the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. The following night, the Panthers return to South Florida and host the defending Atlantic Division Champion New Jersey Devils on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. The Panthers conclude the regular season at home on Sunday, Apr. 11 when they host their intrastate rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Ticket packages starting at the incredible value of $35 per game for a lower level season ticket in the Panthers Locker Room and $7 per game for an upper level season ticket are now available and include parking, so fans are encouraged to call 954.835.PUCK for more information. Concession prices at the BankAtlantic Center will also remain flat for the 2009-10 season. An announcement regarding the on-sale for single game tickets is expected in August.
“Our fans should be very excited and enthused by the announcement of the 2009-10 Panthers schedule,” President & Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark said. “Once again, we have incredible match-ups surrounding Thanksgiving and the December holidays that have always proved to be a hit for our fans. Additionally, we have created a new price structure to make attending Florida Panthers games easy and affordable, so as to allow our most passionate fans to come to as many games as possible, and to encourage casual fans to sample our product on a more regular basis.”
The 2009-10 schedule is highlighted by incredible match-ups, including a post-Thanksgiving game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Nov. 27, as well as a Thanksgiving Eve contest against the New York Rangers. After the Christmas holiday, the Panthers will host both the Boston Bruins on Sunday, Dec. 27, the Montreal Canadiens on New Year’s Eve at 5 p.m., and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, Jan. 3 at 5 p.m. Florida also welcomes Olli Jokinen, Jay Bouwmeester and the Calgary Flames to town on Friday, Feb. 5 and Roberto Luongo and the Vancouver Canucks to South Florida on Thursday, Feb. 11.
For the third consecutive season, all home weekday games will begin at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday games starting at 7 p.m. and five Sunday matinee 5 p.m. games, unless circumstances – such as national television start times – dictate otherwise.
During the 2009-10 campaign, the Panthers will play all 29 NHL clubs. Florida will play the entire Western Conference, with the exception of Chicago, once at home or on the road and they will also play two select Western Conference teams (Colorado & Nashville) twice, once on the road and once at home.
“This year’s schedule sets up fairly well for our team,” Panthers Assistant General Manager Randy Sexton said. “After returning from Europe, we have the opportunity to get some rest as we play just four games over a 16-day period in October. Additionally, we play five of our final eight games at the BankAtlantic Center, which could prove to be crucial in terms of playoff positioning.”
In addition, the 2009-10 season will also see the unveiling of the Panthers Locker Room seating section located in the lower bowl end zone (sections 105-114, rows 18-28) and priced at $35 per game for full season ticket buyers (also available for half and mini plans). The Panthers Locker Room will be a special themed section in which fans will become part of a player’s fan club and may receive benefits such as merchandise, pre- or postgame autograph sessions, birthday and holiday cards from players, access to special sections of FloridaPanthers.com, a learn to skate clinic and more. The sections – on the “shoot once” end of the lower bowl – will be player branded, potentially with a new paint scheme, banner system, interactive area and more.
The organization will also unveil a new all-inclusive club, the Premier Lounge, which encompasses the first four rows of the BankAtlantic Center’s premium lower bowl and features an exclusive branded dining and lounge location. The Premier Lounge not only gives fans an incredible viewing experience, but also the opportunity to eat, drink and relax between the action at a new, exclusive-access lounge at center ice on the BankAtlantic Center’s event level. 2009-10 Schedule Highlights:
• The Panthers open the 2009-10 season in Helsinki, Finland, when they take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday, Oct. 2 and Saturday, Oct. 3 at Hartwell Areena, as part of the Compuware NHL Premiere series.
• The Panthers open the season at home on Saturday Oct. 10 when the host the New Jersey Devils at 7 p.m. Fans are encouraged to arrive early and participate in the opening night “Rock the Rink” festivities.
• The defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins visit South Florida on Monday, Nov. 23 and on Sunday, Jan. 3.
• Florida visits the Western Conference Champion Detroit Red Wings on Friday, Nov. 20.
• For the second consecutive year, Florida visits the RBC Center for the Carolina Hurricanes regular season opener on Friday, Oct. 9.
• The Panthers will play five games against their Southeast Division foes (Oct. 9 at CAR; Oct. 12 at TB, Nov. 4 vs. CAR; Nov. 6 vs. WSH; Nov. 6 at WSH) during the club’s first 25 games of the 2009-10 campaign.
• Florida will play four of their last five games of the 2009-10 season at the BankAtlantic Center, with their only away game occurring in Tampa Bay on Sat. Apr. 10.
• For the third consecutive year all Saturday home games will start at 7 p.m. in order to better accommodate families who attend.
• The Panthers will host five (5 p.m.) Sunday matinee games and will also host the Montreal Canadiens at 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
• The Panthers 2009-10 home schedule includes five Sunday contests, six Monday games, three Tuesdays, eight Wednesdays, four Thursdays, five Fridays and nine Saturday contests.
• The Cats will host four games in October, seven in November, seven in December, seven in January, four in February, seven in March and four in April.
• Florida’s busiest month will be both December and March when the Cats play 15 games.
• The Panthers longest road trip of the season will be four games when they visit Columbus (Dec. 9), New Jersey (Dec. 11), Pittsburgh (Dec. 12) and the NY Islanders (Dec. 14).
• The National Hockey League will take a two-week break (Feb. 14-28) to allow their players to compete in the 2010 Winter Olympics that will take place in Vancouver, B.C.