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Cats & Coffee: New ECHL Affiliate; Sunrise Showdown

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

Good morning and welcome to "Cats & Coffee," a weekly segment, presented by Koffee Kult, in which we serve up an exciting look at what's on deck for your Florida Panthers. Like our friends at Koffee Kult, this forecast serves up only the best -- so sit back, sip and enjoy our latest brew of news, notes and information.

The Florida Panthers have put the finishing touches on their prospect pipeline.

After having already added the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers as an AHL affiliate back in early September, the organization announced last week that they've now also entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL.

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Florida Panthers Name Shane Churla Director of Amateur Scouting

by Florida Panthers / @FlaPanthers /

SUNRISE, Fla. - Florida Panthers General Manager Bill Zito announced today that the club has named Shane Churla Director of Amateur Scouting.

"Shane is an experienced and talented addition for our organization in the scouting department," said Zito. "We couldn't be more excited about the continued growth of our hockey operations department and our investment in the future of our franchise."

Churla has served the last seven seasons with the Montreal Canadiens scouting staff (2013-14 to 2019-20) including the past four seasons as the club's Director of Amateur Scouting and three as Chief of Amateur Scouting.

The native of Fernie, British Columbia served as an amateur scout for the Dallas Stars for seven seasons (2005-06 to 2012-13) and five seasons as an amateur scout for the Arizona/Phoenix Coyotes (2000-01 to 2004-05).

Originally selected by the Hartford Whalers in the sixth round (110th overall) of the 1985 National Hockey League Draft, Churla played 488 career regular season NHL games for Hartford (1986-87 to 1987-88), the Calgary Flames (1987-88 to 1988-89), Minnesota North Stars/Dallas Stars (1988-89 to 1995-96), Los Angeles Kings (1995-96) and New York Rangers (1995-96 to 1996-97), registering 71 points (26-45-71) and 2,301 PIM.

Take a Virtual Tour and learn how you can join Panthers Territory today. Visit or call 954-835-PUCK for more information.

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NHL Insider

Geoffrion continues NHL family legacy as Panthers exec

Morenz's great-grandson, Bernie's grandson was fourth member of lineage to play for Canadiens

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / Columnist

Seldom a day goes by that Blake Geoffrion doesn't consider his unique place in the NHL, the only fourth-generation player in League history. Now, Geoffrion is eagerly setting to work for his fourth NHL team, having been hired by the Florida Panthers on Sept. 15 as an assistant to general manager Bill Zito.

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2020 NHL Draft Player Card: Kasper Puutio

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

Welcome to the new "Player Card" series at presented by Truist! In these articles, we'll break down both the basics and the beyond when it comes to some of your favorite Panthers players and prospects through their on-ice statistics, off-ice interests, and an informative Q&A session.

In today's card, we'll take a look at Panthers 2020 fifth-round pick Kasper Puutio.

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Florida Panthers, Greenville Swamp Rabbits Enter Affiliation Agreement

Greenville serves as ECHL affiliate for Florida and the Charlotte Checkers (AHL)

by Florida Panthers / @FlaPanthers /

SUNRISE, Fla. - Florida Panthers General Manager Bill Zito announced today that the club has entered into a multi-year affiliation agreement with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL. The Swamp Rabbits will serve as the ECHL affiliate for the Panthers as well as its American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Charlotte Checkers.

"We are pleased to begin our affiliation with the Swamp Rabbits," said Gregory Campbell, Panthers Vice President of Player Personnel & Development. "This partnership is important to our organization as it provides new resources and exciting opportunities for the development of our young prospects."

The Swamp Rabbits are based in Greenville, S.C., and have qualified for the postseason in five of their 10 seasons. In the 2013-14 season, Greenville reached the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals.

Founded in 1987 as the Johnstown Chiefs, one of the ECHL's founding teams, the franchise relocated to the Palmetto State in 2010 as the Greenville Road Warriors before rebranding as the Swamp Rabbits in 2015. The club plays its home games at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

The 2020-21 ECHL regular season is expected to begin on Dec. 11, when the Swamp Rabbits will face their intrastate rivals the South Carolina Stingrays. Their home opener will take place on Dec. 18 against the Florida Everblades.

The Panthers entered a multi-year AHL affiliation agreement with the Checkers on Sept. 10, 2020.

The ECHL is the leading professional developmental league for the American Hockey League and the National Hockey League. The league began in 1988-89 with five teams in three states and now spans coast-to-coast, with 26 teams playing in 21 states and provinces. There have been more than 650 former ECHL players who have gone on to play in the NHL after playing in the ECHL.

Take a Virtual Tour and learn how you can join Panthers Territory today. Visit or call 954-835-PUCK for more information.

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Florida Panthers to Host 'Sunrise Showdown' NHL 21 Online Tournament

NHL 21 Tournament with Level Gaming Will Be Held Dec. 5 & Dec. 12 for XBOX One and PlayStation 4

by Florida Panthers / @FlaPanthers /

SUNRISE, Fla. - The Florida Panthers announced today the inaugural 'Sunrise Showdown' NHL 21 Online Tournament for XBOX One and PlayStation 4 hosted by Level Gaming. Select matches from the tournament will be streamed from the Florida Panthers Gaming Twitch account at

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Panthers Prospects Putting in Work Overseas

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

As we await the start of the 2020-21 NHL season, let's turn our attention overseas.

With several professional leagues currently up and running in Europe, there's no time like the present to check out a few potential future members of the Florida Panthers as a handful of the organization's prospects are currently lacing up their skates in the KHL, SHL, Liiga and beyond.

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Panthers 2020-21 NCAA Prospects Preview

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

Grab your pencils, books and hockey sticks because school's back in session.

While the Big Ten (Nov. 13) and Atlantic Hockey (Nov. 14) have already gotten underway, other top NCAA conferences such as Hockey East (Nov. 20), WCHA (Nov. 20) and NCHC (Dec. 1) are expected to soon follow suit and drop the puck on the highly-anticipated 2020-21 campaign in the coming weeks.

With representation from each of the organization's last three drafts, the Florida Panthers currently have 10 prospects that are slated to compete within the NCAA ranks this season, including 2019 first-round pick Spencer Knight, who hopes to backstop Boston College to a coveted national championship.

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Territory Talk: Hinostroza in the House

by Jameson Olive & Doug Plagens / @FlaPanthers /

Territory Talk: Vinnie Hinostroza

Territory Talk: Vinnie Hinostroza

New Panther Vinnie Hinostroza joins Jameson Olive for a sit-down chat during his visit to BB&T Center

  • 03:45 •

While on his first tour of BB&T Center, new Panthers forward Vinnie Hinostroza joins this week's episode of the Territory Talk podcast to discuss his move to South Florida, expectations for the upcoming 2020-21 season and more!

Plus, co-hosts Doug Plagens and Jameson Olive discuss the NHL's release of the new and nostalgic "Reverse Retro" jerseys. Highlights of the episode include:

• The "Reverse Retro" jerseys have been revealed! What's the final verdict? (2:00)

• New Panthers forward Vinnie Hinostroza joins the show! (12:20)

• Hinostroza talks about his expectations for the 2020-21 season. (17:50)

• This is your last chance to sign up for the "Stache Dash 5K" this weekend. (26:00)

If you'd like new episodes of the Territory Talk podcast delivered directly to your phone or inbox each week, visit to subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud or Spotify.

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Panthers name Peterson first Black assistant general manager in NHL

Former player agent looking forward to working in market 'primed to pop'

by William Douglas @WDouglasNHL / Staff Writer

Brett Peterson hired by Panthers

Panthers make Brett Peterson Asst. General Manager

The Panthers make history by hiring Brett Peterson, who becomes the first Black Assistant GM in NHL history

  • 02:27 •

Brett Peterson was named assistant general manager of the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. He is believed to be the first Black assistant GM in the NHL.

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