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New Cats To Meet Fans At Cookout

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Panther fans will have an opportunity July 9 to meet two of the newest Panthers when goalie Tomas Vokoun and center Brett McLean attend the 3rd Cats Cookout of the summer at the BankAtlantic Center.

The Cats Cookout will allow Vokoun and McLean to meet fans and sign autographs. The event will also feature live music, a chance for fans to choose their seats for the upcoming 2006-07 season, and a free barbeque coupon for those who RSVP by calling 954-835-PUCK.

Panthers General Manager and Head Coach Jacques Martin pulled off a monumental trade at the Draft in Columbus two weeks ago when he gave up only a couple draft picks to acquire what Martin said is a “Top-6 goaltender in the NHL” in Vokoun.

Vokoun has won 25 or more games as Nashville’s No. 1 goaltender for four consecutive seasons. He has posted a GAA of under 2.70 in each of the last six seasons. The Cats now have a legitimate No. 1 goaltender for the foreseeable future as Vokoun’s contract still has four years remaining.

On the morning of July 1, Martin had a plan set for the beginning of free agency. He wanted to acquire some grit and toughness to work around the Nathan Horton’s, Stephen Weiss’ and Olli Jokinen’s, so Martin made one of his first signings C Brett McLean from Colorado.

McLean was a late bloomer to the NHL, but at age 28, he has now been in the NHL for four seasons, improving every year including scoring a career-high 15 goals last season. McLean is known for hit toughness getting to loose pucks in the corner. Martin described him as “a gritty, tough and competitive power forward that will make an immediate impact in our line-up.”

Both Vokoun and McLean were part of a busy two week period for the Panthers. First, the day before the 2007 NHL Entry Draft in Columbus was to begin, Martin announced the signing of Horton to a 6-year contract, ensuring the Panthers top offensive weapon will stay in South Florida for the foreseeable future. The next day, just hours before Chicago went on the draft clock, Martin announced the team had acquired franchise goalie Vokoun from Nashville.

Then at the Draft, Martin and the Panthers scouting staff drafted seven players including Keaton Ellerby (10th overall) and Michael Repik (40th overall). Both players will be valuable assets to the Panthers organization in the not-to-distant future.

After a couple days to breathe after the draft, Martin announced the signing of Jozef Stumpel to a two-year deal ensuring the Panthers second leading scorer would remain a Panther and continue to be a role model for Rostislav Olesz. Finally, on Sunday as free agency opened, Martin signed three players, Radek Dvorak, Richard Zednik and McLean.

Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to see two of the newest Panthers that will sport a Panthers logo on their chest starting this fall.
Panther Pops

Panther Pops
The Florida Panthers Foundation will be hosting a unique fundraising event at the third Cats Cookout of the summer on Monday, July 9. The Foundation will host “Panther Pops”, a fundraising event that will allow fans to win fabulous prizes, including Florida Panthers signed memorabilia, by choosing lollipops off of a lollipop tree. Each lollipop will be marked by a different color, with each color corresponding to a prize. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase one lollipop for $5 or five lollipops for $20. All proceeds will benefit the Florida Panthers Foundation.
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