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.
The Florida Panthers recently announced a partnership with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. for the 2016-17 season and will be visiting the capital city of Bridgetown from Aug. 22-25 as part of the team’s youth hockey and community outreach initiatives.
Panthers forward Jared McCann, defenseman Steven Kampfer, television analyst Randy Moller and Stanley C. Panther all jumped at this exciting opportunity to help grow the game.
In addition to visiting children at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Barbados on Tuesday, the Panthers will also be hosting a youth ball hockey clinic in Bridgetown, where McCann and Kampfer will serve as instructors for the informative clinic.
“We are thrilled to announce both our partnership and this opportunity to bring Panthers hockey to Bridgetown for the very first time,” Panthers Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Greg Rieber said in a release. “We look forward to the opportunity to promote Barbados throughout South Florida as a premier vacation destination, while also making a positive impact in their community.”
The trip to Barbados marks the Panthers’ fifth consecutive offseason visit to the Caribbean, with the team having previously visited the Dominican Republic (2015), Bahamas (2014) and Puerto Rico (2013, 2012).
“It is an honor to host the Florida Panthers on-island and provide the youth of our community with a premier hockey experience,” said Petra Roach, US Director, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
THUNDERBIRDS TAKE FLIGHT
The Springfield Thunderbirds, the new American Hockey League affiliate of the Panthers, recently announced that they would be kicking off their upcoming preseason with a pair of games at the MassMutual Center.
The Thunderbirds will take to MassMutual Center ice for the first time on Friday, Oct. 7 against the Providence Bruins at 7:05 p.m. ET. The very next night, Springfield will remain in its home arena to host the Hartford Wolf Pack for another 7:05 p.m. ET start time.
IN THE NEWS
- After setting career highs in goals (28) and points (59) last season, The Hockey News reporter Matt Larkin believes that Panthers center Aleksander Barkov could be one of the NHL’s breakout stars in 2016-17.
“He’s a big, strong center with a deft two-way game akin to Anze Kopitar’s. Barkov regularly faces opponents’ top lines yet still manages to generate major offense.”
- How will the Panthers fare in the upcoming season? Well, CSN Mid-Atlantic reporter Tarik El-Bashir is pretty confident that last year’s Atlantic Division champions are poised to continue shining in South Florida.
“I’ve looked. And I’ve looked again. And I don’t see any significant holes in the Panthers’ lineup. On paper, they sure look like a team that’s ready to do some damage.”
COLD COFFEE (IN CASE YOU MISSED IT)
- Colton Sceviour recently sat down with FloridaPanthers.com to discuss everything from signing with the Panthers, to sharing a locker room with future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Sceviour said. “I think that’s the question I got the most when people found out that I signed in Florida, everyone was like ‘Jags is there!’ Everyone is fascinated with him.”
- In conjunction with the NHL, the NHLPA and USA Hockey, the Panthers will be hosting “Florida Panthers Learn to Play,” a program for boys and girls ages 4-8 who have never participated in an organized ice hockey program.
- Single-game tickets for the 2016-17 season are now on sale!
- Local students joined Randy Moller, Steve Goldstein, Doug Plagens and more for a Broadcast and Game Presentation Camp last week at the BB&T Center.