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Mike Matheson: My Weekend in South Florida

by Mike Matheson @mmatheson19 /

Welcome to "My Weekend in South Florida," where your favorite Florida Panthers players share how they prefer to spend their free weekends throughout the summer and season while suiting up for the NHL's southernmost franchise.

1. If I have a free weekend in South Florida, I usually spend it…

I really don't have much planned. I was hoping to be in the playoffs. I guess I'll get back to the drawing board a little bit and start trying to fill up my day. I think my girlfriend Emily and I are going to take a trip to the Keys or something like that for a few days. We also actually just decided to get a puppy -- it's a mini goldendoodle. 

Tweet from @mmatheson19: My new buddy Hank. He enjoys running after leaves, taking naps and peeing in���

2. If one of my teammates tags along, it's usually…

It's a pretty big variety of guys. I think that's one thing that keeps us all so close. We're not a clicky group, everyone just sort of hangs out together. I spend a lot of time with Ian McCoshen because of our school connection and the fact that we were roommates on the road. There's also Petro and Ek. All of us hang out a lot, especially at home because we live so close together. Bjugy, Pysser, Troch, Yands, all those guys are usually around.

3. I like having him around because…

I like having Ian around because I think we just enjoy relaxing together. We joke around and bug each other. We have a pretty good time together.

4. When it's time to grab a bite, I'll head to…

I usually head somewhere on Las Olas, like Caffe Europá. I get the chicken parm every time.

5. If that's not an option, then I'll try…

I like Louie Bossi's in Fort Lauderdale. They also have good chicken parm, but sometimes I'll get a nice steak there to switch it up a little bit.

6. If I hit the beach, I can't forget to bring…

Sunscreen [Laughs]. I just grab whatever. I'm actually lucky that I do tan, as a redhead. I haven't been to the beach in a long time, but if I do go I definitely have to lather up for a while before I get my tan going.

7. My favorite thing about playing hockey in South Florida is…

All of it. There's really not one thing. The fact that we get to live in such a beautiful place, I feel like I have to pinch myself sometimes. Not only do I get to be in the NHL and live out my dream, I also get to live in Fort Lauderdale. That's a place where people vacation, but I get to live there. It's pretty great.

I also think the fact that we really have such loyal fans is great. We don't have bandwagon fans. They get trashed all the times by fans from different teams on the internet about us not having very many fans, but they're always there with a rebuttal and showing how supportive of us they are. We appreciate that and know that they are that supportive. I really do that believe that although we don't have the biggest number of the fans in the league, we do have the most loyal.

You can follow Mike on Twitter (@mmatheson19) and Instagram (@mmatheson19)

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