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Rats Roundup: Vatrano to Worlds, Learn to Skate

by Peter Rossi / FloridaPanthers.com

Good morning and welcome to the latest addition of Rats Roundup!

Frank Vatrano is headed to the World Championship, Learn to Skate announced new sessions and more! Sit back, relax and catch up on all the latest Panthers news!

Vatrano Heads to Europe

Following his breakout campaign during which he tallied career-highs in goals (24) and points (39), Frank Vatrano is ready to don the Red, White and Blue for Team USA in the 2019 IIHF World Championship.

But this won't be the first time the native of East Longmeadow, Mass. will be suiting up for his home country.

Vatrano previously has won the gold medal at the U-18 World Championship in 2012, a silver medal at the World Hockey Challenge in 2017 and skated in the 2016 World Championship, ranking third on the team with eight points (five goals, three assists).

To hear more about Vatrano's thoughts about playing in this year's tournament, click HERE and stay tuned to FloridaPanthers.com for all upcoming information regarding the 2019 IIHF World Championship!

Season Rewinds

Jonathan Huberdeau and Aaron Ekblad were the players spotlighted in the latest installments of our Season Rewinds.

Regarded as a playmaker for most of his career, Huberdeau showed the hockey world that title is no longer fitting, as he potted 30 goals and 62 assists (also a new franchise record) for 92 points on the season.

And you would be hard pressed to find a hotter scorer in the NHL than Huberdeau in the second half of the season, as the 25-year-old registering 40 points in 26 games. In that span, he also found the back of the net a league-high 17 times.

To read more about Huberdeau's historic season, click HERE.

Video: 2018-19 Season Rewind: Jonathan Huberdeau

It was a season of growth for Aaron Ekblad, as the young blueliner skated in all 82 games for the second time in his career while also garnering 1,938:49 of ice time, both a team-leading and career-high number.

Finishing with 13 goals and 24 assists, the former Calder Trophy winner also became just the 13th defenseman to ever score 10-plus goals in each of his first five NHL seasons, joining an exclusive club that features the likes of Bobby Orr and Denis Potvin.

To read Ekblad's thoughts on the season and his excitement about learning from new Cats Head Coach Joel Quenneville, click HERE.

Video: 2018-19 Season Rewind: Aaron Ekblad

Fight Night Raffle

Earlier this week, the Florida Panthers Foundation and the UFC® launched an online and in-venue 50/50 raffle campaign during Fight Week of UFC® FIGHT NIGHT: JACARE vs. HERMANNSON, which takes place on Saturday, April 27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

Fans who are 18 years or older can purchase raffle tickets at FLAPAnthers5050.org, with all proceeds benefitting the Florida Panthers Foundation and Friends of Fisher House, Inc. (WPB and Miami).

The suggested minimum donations for raffle tickets are: 10 for $10; 60 for $20; and 150 for $40. Raffle tickets are currently available online and will continue to be sold through the second fight of the main card on Saturday, April 27.

For all rules and regulations, please visit FloridaPanthers.com/5050raffle and to get tickets to the big event click HERE.

Learn to Skate

On Thursday, the Cats launched new sessions of 'Learn to Skate' at four local rinks throughout South Florida.

The program is designed for anyone age four and above who want to lace up and learn the essentials of ice skating. Every participant will receive 8 weeks of on-ice training from Learn To Skate Certified Instructors and will receive a free pair of hockey skates or figure skates to use during the program.

But that's not even the best part! Participants will be able to keep their skates at the conclusion of the program!

New sessions of 'Learn to Skate' will take place at Florida Panthers IceDen (Coral Springs), The Rink on the Beach (formerly Glacier Ice & Snow Arena- Pompano Beach), Palm Beach Ice Works (West Palm Beach) and Palm Beach Skate Zone (Lake Worth).

To register for 'Learn to Skate,' please visit FloridaPanthers.com/LearnToSkate.

And be sure to check out all the Panthers hockey programs at FloridaPanthers.com/HockeyPrograms.

Quick Hitters

- "Red Deer Randy Moller discusses his thoughts on this year's playoffs upsets, sweeps and Game 7 drama in hit latest blog!

- Take a behind-the-scenes look at Keith Yandle's guest appearance on NBC Sports.

Video: NBC Sports Guest Analyst: Keith Yandle

- On this week' episode of Territory Talk, Colton Sceviour and Frank Vatrano discuss their day at Marlins Park taking part in batting practice, and Roberto Luongo joins the episode to discuss fantasy sports, Coach Q and more!

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