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New Season, New Excitement, New Hope

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
Players go through a drill during the first day of the Panthers 2011 Training Camp.

By Stefanie Hew, University of Miami

CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. – Excitement buzzed off the ice and through the crowd at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs, Fla. at as the Panthers hit the ice for the first time at their 2011 training camp.

Cones set. Skate on. Coaches paced the ice, clipboards in hand constantly evaluating as players demonstrated speed, skill and endurance. 

Fans of all ages and player families surrounded the rink eagerly watching, itching with anticipation for the new season and players.

Michael Yormark, SSE’s President & COO was watching amongst the fans, just as excited and enthusiastic about the coming season.

“Very, very excited, obviously a big buzz in the air. Very optimistic - this is our season. I really feel if we are healthy and the team comes together and develops good chemistry this can be a very, very successful campaign for us,” said Yormark. “It’s so great to see all these fans out here today.  They have been winning all summer especially since July 1st after Dale acquired so many players. So, a great buzz in the air, lots of excitement. It’s a great day to be a Panther fan.”

After practice Kris Versteeg talked about joining the Panthers.

“It feels good to be here with a lot of old and new faces. I think the chemistry on the ice, a lot of the time is the biggest part of the game,” said Versteeg. “We all know what it takes to play the game and play the system game. Now it’s all about coming together, you know as one.

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OTHER LINKS:
Dale Tallon Post Practice
Kevin Dineen Post Practice
David Booth Post Practice
Brian Campbell Post Practice
Scottie Upshall Post Practice
Kris Versteeg Post Practice
Stephen Weiss Post Practice
“I come here and I almost feel like I’m home, it feels nice. You start to feel comfortable right away here…I hope I can stick around here and be a Panther for a long time.”

At the end of day one, Dale Tallon, General Manager, spoke his thoughts about players and the upcoming season.

“We are getting bigger, faster, stronger, in all elements of the game and depth in all positions. You know it’s exciting to see it all come together,” said Tallon. “And you know it’s going be a tough process here with 57 guys in camp and a lot of good players, a lot of new faces. Competition will be severe and that’s what it’s all about, that’s how you become a better team when you have competition for jobs.

“We’ll have some tough decisions moving forward on Tuesday and Wednesday and then look forward to the following weeks to get ready for the season.”

The Panthers take to the ice again tomorrow, Sept. 18 at 9 a.m. at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs, Fla.

2011 TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

Sept. 18 – Practice 9 a.m. – Noon.
Sept. 19 – Preseason Game # 1 vs. Nashville 3 p.m.; Preseason Game # 2 vs. Nashville 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 – 22 – Daily Practices 9 a.m. – Noon.
Sept 23 – Preseason Game #3 @ Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Sept 24 – Preseason Game #4 vs. Tampa Bay 7:30 p.m.
Sept 25 – Day Off
Sept 26 – Practice 9 a.m. – Noon.
Sept 27 – Preseason Game #5 vs. Dallas 7:30 p.m.
Sept 28 – Practice 9 a.m. – Noon.
Sept 29 – Preseason Game #6 @ Dallas 8:30 p.m.
Sept 30 – Oct 1 – Practice 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
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