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Rats Roundup: Huizenga Honored, Home for the Holidays

by Peter Rossi /

Good morning Panthers fans and welcome to the latest Rats Roundup! Catch up on all things Panthers from this week, including Huizenga being honored, Mike Matheson gaining confidence and more!

Sit back, relax, and kick off your weekend with a little Cats news.

Huizenga Heads to the Rafters

There would not be NHL hockey in South Florida if not for H. Wayne Huizenga.

On December 10th, 1992 the NHL awarded H. Wayne Huizenga an NHL franchise, later named the Panthers. In the inaugural Panthers season the club nearly qualified for the playoffs and amassed 83 points, an NHL record for an expansion franchise that still stands today. The Huizenga family - led by H. Wayne and his wife Marti - were vocal supporters of the club, and Marti even made headlines during the 1996 Stanley Cup Final when the plastic rats she attempted to sneak into a Stanley Cup Final game at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colo. were confiscated by arena security.

To honor Huizenga, the Cats will permanently retire number 37 in honor of franchise founder H. Wayne Huizenga on Friday January 19, 2018 at BB&T Center, when the Panthers host the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. The number 37 was selected by the Huizenga family in recognition of Wayne's birth year and lucky number.

Visit to purchase tickets for this special match-up.

Matheson's Search for Consistency

Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson sat down with's Jameson Olive for a Q&A about how his game has improved since the start of the season.

On evaluating his season thus far, Matheson said "I would say that I've had some good games and some bad games. It's been definitely a little inconsistent, I'd say. It's been pretty frustrating for myself. I wish I would have started a lot better, but I think I've been continuing to get better as the season's gone on."

To check out the full Q&A, click HERE.

Alumni Association Continues Scholarship Program

The Florida Panthers Alumni Association has awarded more than $6,500 to eight youth hockey players from four different associations for the winter youth hockey travel season.

This winter period the players that were awarded the scholarship funds were from four different associations including: Jr. Panthers, Palm Beach Blackhawks, Sharpshooters, Palm Beach Breakers.

The awardees come from travel and high school programs around the Florida area and were granted based on academic achievement, financial need and merit and community involvement, rather than their skills or talent on the ice.

The Panthers Alumni Association awarded $22,500 throughout the fall and winter grant periods and were able to give scholarships to 26 youth hockey players this year.

Stay tuned to for future application dates of the youth hockey scholarships.

Holiday Homestand

The Cats will have two games at BB&T Center before the Christmas break.

On Friday, December 22, the Panthers welcome the Minnesota Wild to BB&T Center at 7:30 p.m.. On Saturday, December 23, the Ottawa Senators come to down for a crucial Atlantic Division matchup at 7:00 p.m.

Head to to purchase your tickets and come cheer on the Cats!

Quick Hitters

-This past Saturday, the Cats held their first annual Pucks and Pints. Over 16 breweries were in attendance, and it was a hit with the fans! 

Video: Panthers Foundation 2017 Pucks and Pints Event

-Our friends over at sat down with Jonathan Huberdeau in their latest installment of's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …". Click HERE to check out what the Panthers forward had to say about coming back from his Achilles injury, playing with Jaromir Jagr and more!

-The Springfield Thunderbirds young players have stepped up to get the team back on track. Click HERE to read's write-up about the Thunderbirds season so far. 

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