SUNRISE – In the next edition of FOX Sports Florida’s Inside the Panthers, Cats fans will learn all about the Panthers’ main minor league affiliate, the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League. Hosted by Craig Minervini, INSIDE THE PANTHERS: ROCHESTER – LIFE IN THE MINORS premieres on FOX Sports Florida Saturday, January 31, at 10pm, immediately following the Panthers at New York Islanders game.
Also known as the “Amerks”, they are the second oldest franchise in the AHL and are currently competing in their 53rd season of play. The Amerks have a rich and storied history, with many NHL players past and present, playing for Rochester. The franchise also boasts six Calder Cup championships, emblematic of the AHL title.
For the past few seasons, the Panthers shared the team with the Buffalo Sabres but in the summer of 2008, the Panthers became Rochester’s sole NHL parent team. To learn more about the talented people who make the Amerks so successful FOX Sports Florida spoke with Rochester General Manager Jody Gage, Panthers Director of Player Development Jack Birch, Americans Head Coach Benoit Groulx, longtime Amerks radio voice Don Stevens, in addition to many of the Panthers young prospects on the roster. The show also looks at the history of the Rochester franchise and its importance in the local community.
Fans will catch a glimpse into the players’ personal lives with defenseman Keaton Ellerby
offered Inside the Panthers a private tour of his living quarters in Rochester. Cameras were rolling as the team traveled by bus and fans will see what it was like through the eyes of forward Tanner Glass, who wielded “Tanner-Cam” during a trip from Rochester to Binghamton, New York. The show profiles defenseman Rory Fitzpatrick, a veteran of several NHL seasons, and a Rochester native, who is back playing in his hometown as part of the Panthers organization. The show also hears from members of the Amerks who have been called up to the Panthers at one time or another. They tell what life is like in the AHL compared to the NHL and share what drives them to return to play for the Panthers. Multiple replays are scheduled throughout the 2008-09 NHL season, check fsfloridatv.com