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.
As current and prospective season ticket holders were testing out various views from around the BB&T Center at last weekend's Open House, a very special guest made a surprise appearance to lend them a helping hand - Florida Panthers forward Jussi Jokinen.
"I think this is great," said Jokinen, who signed autographs and posed for photos with fans. "We like that our building is a tough place to play. We really appreciate our fans. I know that this past season wasn't as good as we would have liked, but we've already turned the page. We're already preparing for next season.
"These fans are why we play the game. It's really cool to be able to meet some of them to see what they think and stuff like that. It's really nice to be here, for sure."
After falling short of the playoffs this past season, Jokinen told fans that he and his teammates believe the Panthers won't be outside of the postseason picture for much longer. As the club continues to prepare for puck drop in October, the 34-year-old forward is confident that season ticket holders will definitely get their money's worth next season.
"I think we're a hungry team," said Jokinen, who has tallied 132 points in 231 games with the Panthers. "We're a team that's really determined to be a playoff team again… I think we have all of the right tools to make it happen."
In addition to Jokinen, fans also had a chance to meet and greet with many other various Panthers personalities and broadcasters, including Stanley C. Panther, Viktor E. Ratt, the ROAR Corps and Randy Moller.
If you didn't have a chance to stop by the Open House, don't fret! If you'd like to learn more about full, half or 11-game ticket plans, please call (954) 835- PUCK (7825) or visitFloridaPanthers.com/TicketCentral for more information.
CATS WIN SILVER
A pair of Panthers defensemen are heading home with some new hardware.
Jason Demers and Michael Matheson earned silver medals at the 2017 IIHF World Championship following Canada's 2-1 shootout loss to Sweden at LANXESS Arena in Cologne, Germany on Sunday.
Demers, playing his usual brand of reliable and effective two-way hockey, looked poised and polished in his first-ever World Championship, finishing with the third-most ice time among all of Canada's defenseman in the tournament (193:51). The 28-year-old also registered 15 shots on goal in 10 games.
As for Matheson, the 23-year-old blueliner once again put together another spectacular performance on international ice, ranking tied for second among all of the tournament's defensemen in scoring and tied for first among all Canadian defensemen with seven points (1-6-7) in 10 games.
Matheson, who was named the tournament's top defenseman in 2016, earned a medal for the second consecutive summer after having helped Canada capture gold at last year's World Championship.
CATS IN THE COMMUNITY
It might be the offseason, but the Panthers are always active in the community.
Reilly Smith and Randy Moller, both looking sharp as always, recently represented the Panthers at the Doctor's Hospital on Broadway Gala for the Baptist Health Foundation.
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
-- From making history to mastering the art of the mullet, we take a look at Jaromir Jagr's continued excellence in our second installment of our annual "Season Rewind" series.
-- As part of their continued commitment to improving the local community, the Panthers recently visited the Quest Center in Hollywood to host a street hockey clinic for an amazing group of special needs children.
"My goal as the acting principal of the building is to give them every opportunity to experience the world at large," said Principal Cherie Toeller, "It was so important for us to reach out to the Panthers, to give them an opportunity to experience that joy and that exposure that many of us take for granted."
-- Top-10 Panthers goals of the 2016-17 season.