By: Andres Gaviria – University of Miami
SUNRISE, Fla – Florida Panthers Media Day is carefully organized and orchestrated. From medicals to immigration to setting up different media stations for the upcoming season. Each of the Cats’ spend time with the media staff before heading into a hall of rooms, each designated with specific purpose. A line of jerseys, their team bag, stick and uniform items await them as all of these items are needed for their “close ups” and pictures.
Walking down the designated hall within the BB&T Center, the Florida Panthers exchange joking grimaces and a general sense of jest.
“It’s pretty standard to try and give each other a look and get each other to mess up," explained defenseman Colby Robak. "Just have fun with it.”
Panthers vets move from station-to-station performing various promotional duties. They hear a lot of “stand here and face me” “smile, now don’t smile” and other such directions. For the veterans, this is just business as usual.
“It's part of the game,” said goalie Dov Grumet-Morris. “We’ve been doing this for five or ten years, some of us, so its kind of fun. Having the camaraderie makes time go by quickly.”
This camaraderie was very apparent.
The Panthers players handle themselves like consummate professionals in the media booths, but once outside the laughter and smiles ensued. Just another way of helping each other pass the time.
“Well I think this day is always long, between getting all the media stuff done and all the medicals and the physicals," expressed Panthers captain Ed Jovanovski. "It's something that needs to be done to help promote hockey.
"The (marketing and game presentation) staff do a great job at thinking of new and different ideas. Overall, it's fun to get back at it. It’s for real now and we are very excited.”
With media day out of the way, the Panthers take to the ice Thursday as they prepare for the 2013-14 NHL season. A special 20th Anniversary season for the Cats, the campaign begins on Oct. 3 when Florida opens on the road against the Dallas Stars.