By the time the puck drops on the 2009-10 regular season, the Panthers will officially be the road warriors of the NHL.
The Panthers, who open the regular-season in October with two games against the Blackhawks in Helsinki, Finland, announced today they have agreed to open training camp Sept. 12 in the small town of Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia.
The Panthers also announced their first preseason game of the season would be played Sept. 15 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, against the Senators.
The announcement was made today in Halifax in part by Panthers GM Jacques Martin, who said the Panthers will open training camp in Nova Scotia the next three years, through 2011.
This will be the Panthers second trip to Halifax in their 16 year history to play a preseason game. The team played a preseason game in Halifax in 1996 after training in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, the home of then-coach Doug MacLean.
“We are excited about the opportunity the open our training camp in Port Hawkesbury and to play an exhibition game in Halifax,” Martin said. “This is an ideal situation because it gives our team the chance to train at a great facility and allows our players the opportunity to bond together early in training camp. At the same time it will provide the residents of Port Hawkesbury and Halifax the chance to see NHL hockey and their hometown setting.”
The agreement to have camp in Port Hawkesbury and play a game in Halifax was negotiated between the Panthers and MacDonnnell Cultural Production’s Bluenose League, whose goal is to make the Maritimes the home of pre-season NHL hockey.
Bluenose League president Ralston MacDonnell said the mission of his league is to “create a sustainable platform that provides a turnkey solution for supporting NHL teams seeking a focused and friendly atmosphere for the players to prepare for the season ahead.”
Billy Joe MacLean, the mayor of Port Hawkesbury, said; “The town and our Civic Centre are perfectly aligned with the mandate of the Bluenose league’s pre-season NHL training camps. Residents are excited with the prospect of seeing world-class athletes in a hometown setting.”
Port Hawkesbury is a town of approximately 3,800 located on the southwestern end of Cape Breton and approximately two hours from Halifax. The Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre has 1,000 fixed seats and Panther practices will be open to the public.
Panthers fans interested in attending the preseason game Sept. 15 in Halifax can get tickets at ticketatlantic.com
or call Ticket Atlantic box office at 902-451-1221.