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The BankAtlantic Center is a little bit colder today, and it’s got nothing to do with the weather. We’re almost finished making the ice here at the “Center of it All”, and I’m sure all of the passionate and dedicated Cats fans here in South Florida know what that means – Opening Night is just around the corner.
On Thursday, we will be exactly one month out from Opening Night 2009 vs. the New Jersey Devils – with Training Camp, Finland and a road game vs. Carolina in between – and suffice to say, the excitement continues to build.
With rookie camp currently taking place, showcasing young talents such as Dmitry Kulikov
, Keaton Ellerby
, Michal Repik
and Evgeny Dadonov, nearly all of the Panthers training camp participants are already in South Florida and skating at incredible ICE.
That said, Cats fans can look forward to their favorite NHL team being more visible in the market from both a public relations and marketing perspective in the coming months. Keep an eye out for upcoming NHL and Panthers preview packages in the Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post, while we are extremely excited about our new marketing campaign, which will be announced in the next couple weeks and launch in late September through print, radio, television and outdoor billboards.
All of that means it is crunch time on the business side of things, as our sales staff continues to push for an Opening Night sell out, to try and make this one of the best and most exciting home debuts in Panthers history.
Speaking with head coach Pete DeBoer and assistant general manager Randy Sexton, it’s easy to get pumped for Training Camp, which officially opens on Saturday, Sept. 12.
I know coach DeBoer likes the makeup of our team – particularly in terms of chemistry – and Randy has done a masterful job of finding the right mix of players at the right time for this hockey club.
Beginning with his pre-draft and free agency preparation, right down to the Dadonov signing last week and the tryout invitations to NHL vets Christian Backman and Martin Skula, Randy has made shrewd and intelligent moves across the board.
The exciting part during camp will be seeing how everyone fits in to the system coach DeBoer has put into place, and working to get off to a good start against Chicago in Helsinki, and finally when we return to the States.
Speaking of fitting into the system, fans will get their first chance to see the 2009-10 Cats up close at the Panthers Foundation Face Off Luncheon at the Signature Grand on Oct. 7 – only a few seats remain for this great event so call 954-835-7332 for tickets.
In the interim, we’re doing our best to “stay cool” here at the BankAtlantic Center as we work toward creating an incredible, intense atmosphere on Opening Night. There’s just a few weeks left until our date with the Devils on Oct. 10, and plenty left to do. Thanks for reading and go Panthers.