SUNRISE, FL - The Florida Panthers and the National Hockey League announced their 82-game 2006-07 schedule today, highlighted by an unprecedented 30 home games either on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. It marks Florida's 13th season in the NHL and eighth at the BankAtlantic Center, since the venue opened in 1998.
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This year's regular season competition opens with a blockbuster home game against the Boston Bruins and their newly signed free agent defenseman Zdeno Chara on Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. The Cats will conclude the season on the road against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, April 7. All home games (Monday-Saturday) this season will begin at 7:30 p.m., unless circumstances such as national television start times dictate otherwise.
"This season's schedule sets up very well for our club," said Florida Panthers General Manger Mike Keenan. "We play at home for nine consecutive Saturday nights during the second half of the season, including playing 10 of our final 18 regular season contests at the BankAtlantic Center. Additionally, our fans should be excited as they once again will have the opportunity to watch our team take on the last two defending Stanley Cup Champions in eight home contests, along with visits by many other top teams from around the league."
"This year's schedule is without a doubt the most fan friendly in our franchise's history," said Florida Panthers Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark. "We were able to put together a schedule that includes 20 weekend home contests, with numerous games that surround holidays. Along with the usual visits from our Southeast Divisional rivals and Eastern Conference foes, we also welcome some Western Conference opponents next season that include Wayne Gretzky and his Phoenix Coyotes, Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks, as well as Chris Pronger and the Anaheim Ducks."
Most Fan Friendly Schedule in Cats History: With 20 games scheduled for Friday night, Saturday night or Sunday afternoon, the Panthers are thrilled to offer their fans the most fan-friendly schedule in Florida Panthers history. The Cats start and finish the home schedule on a weekend (Boston on Fri., Oct. 6, and Carolina on Sun., April 1).
Fall Friday's at the BankAtlantic Center: The Cats open the season with three consecutive Friday evening games. The Panthers will host the Boston Bruins to open the season on Friday, Oct. 6, their intrastate rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, Oct 13 and Atlantic Division foes the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday, Oct. 20.
Spring Saturday's at the BankAtlantic Center: As the playoff push gets into full swing, the Cats will play nine consecutive Saturday home games between Jan. 27 and March 24. Those nine games include two games versus both Tampa Bay and New Jersey, as well as games against the New York Islanders, Phoenix Coyotes, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins and Washington Capitals. All Saturday night games will feature a unique theme with special promotional give-a-ways.
Sunday Matinee Conclusion: Florida will conclude its home schedule with a Sunday matinee on April Fools Day against the Stanley Cup Champion Carolina Hurricanes at 5 p.m.
Weekends Start on Thursday: The Panthers will host an unprecedented 30 home games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday this season. "The BankAtlantic Center will be the place to be on the weekends next season as Panthers fans can take in a game, while they also will have the opportunity to see a great concert or show during the same weekend," said Yormark. "A fantastic example is during Christmas week when we will host four events in four days, with a pair of hockey games, as well as Woody Allen on Dec. 28 and the metroPCS Orange Bowl Classic on Dec. 30. The BankAtlantic Center undoubtedly will be the 'Center of it All' for entertainment and sports in South Florida with our jam-packed schedule of excitement."
New Start Time: In response to fan suggestions and the preferences of business partners and families, the Panthers have announced a new start time for all home games (Monday-Saturday). All games will now begin at 7:30 p.m., unless circumstances such as national television start times dictate otherwise. This new start time gives working families more time to get to the BankAtlantic Center after the workday has concluded. The new start times also gives fans more of an opportunity to enjoy pre-game activities on the Spirit Airlines Funway.
At Home For Thanksgiving: Florida will host two games surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, making for the ideal way for South Florida families to enjoy their holiday vacation. The Cats host their Southeast Division rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wed. Nov. 22 and Jacques Martin's former team, the Ottawa Senators, on Nov. 24.
Holiday Heaven: The Panthers will play four games surrounding the Christmas and New Year's holiday, providing fans the perfect way to take a break from their hectic holiday schedules. Florida will host the New York Rangers (Dec. 21), Carolina Hurricanes (Dec. 23), Philadelphia Flyers (Dec. 27) and Montréal Canadians (Dec. 29).
Scare-dy Cats: The Panthers have two home games on very spooky nights in October. Florida will host Tampa Bay on Friday the 13th of October. A few weeks later, the Cats will take on San Jose on Halloween night.
Westward Bound: The Cats travel to the West coast to begin the 2006 calendar year. On Jan. 2, the Panthers travel to the Western Conference Champion Edmonton Oilers, followed by a game against the Calgary Flames on Jan. 4 and a match-up with the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 7.
Home-stands and Road Trips: Florida has four season-high three game home-stands, including the final three home games of the regular season against Atlanta (Mar 28), Washington (Mar 30) and Carolina (April 1). The Cats do not have a road trip longer then three games this upcoming season. Florida will have five three-game road trips this season including the final three games of the year from April 3-7 against Washington, Tampa Bay and Carolina.
Seven Days A Week: The Panthers' 2006-07 home schedule includes one Sunday contest, two Monday games, three Tuesdays, six Wednesdays, ten Thursdays, six Fridays and thirteen Saturday contests. The Cats will host six games in October, seven in November, seven in December, five in January, six in February, nine in March and one in April. Fox Sports Net will continue to serve as the Panthers' flagship television station featuring new play-by-play broadcaster Dave Strader and Hockey Hall of Fame analyst Denis Potvin. Radio play-by-play broadcaster Steve "Goldie" Goldstein and analyst "Red Deer" Randy Moller will call all the action throughout the season on WQAM 560 AM.
Get Here Early: Be sure to get to all the Panthers home games early next season to take advantage of all the pre-game activities on the Spirit Airlines Funway, as well as Stanley & Friends, a new children's show that will take place approximately 30 minutes prior to each game on the metroPCS lobby stage located on the plaza level.
Get Your Tickets Now: Season ticket packages start as low as $10 per game. Season seat packages, as well as other half, mini and group ticket packages are available by calling (954) 835-PUCK. Ticket pricing for individual games has not been released yet. However, the club will increase single game ticket prices and institute variable pricing on specific home match-ups. The Panthers will begin charging a premium for select games throughout the season, thus increasing the value for purchasing season seats or a mini-plan.
It Pays to be a Season Seat Holder: Florida Panthers season seat holders receive numerous benefits that include guaranteed premium item give-a-ways, VIP season seat holder entrance into the BankAtlantic Center, full access to Stanley's, the Patron Tequila Platinum Lounge and the BankAtlantic Chairman's Club, bonus game tickets, a private shopping day at Pantherland, access to the ticket exchange program, exclusive team calendar signing, priority access to playoff and BankAtlantic Center concert tickets and much more. For a complete list of benefits please visit www.floridapanthers.com.