Well fans assuming the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified by the NHLPA, we are just a couple days away from the start of training camp at the Panthers’ JetBlue Practice Facility and your Cats’ return to the ice.
It is an exciting and hectic time to be associated with the Florida Panthers. After a 2011-12 season that left us all wanting more and eagerly anticipating what was next, the recent work stoppage forced us to wait patiently until our beloved Cats were back in action.
But now hockey is back and all of us – fans, players, coaches and staff – are earnestly and excitedly preparing ourselves for the frantic season ahead. On the business side, the preparations will not stop until the puck drops on Opening Night.
In the last week alone, I’ve been up in New York for the Board of Governors meeting to ratify the new CBA, we’ve finalized our new “Get It On” and “7th Man” marketing campaign, we’ve announced new corporate partners such as Subway, unveiled fan-friendly hockey promotions through my @PanthersYormark Twitter account and with Duffy’s, as well as the debut of our Panthers Insider Radio Show on WQAM this Saturday. Meanwhile, our marketing campaign is set to launch early next week with the most aggressive reach and exposure of any campaign in the history of the franchise.
What I’ve also been excited about is the incredible response of our South Florida media to the Panthers’ return. Our friends up North sometimes question the passion that exists for the NHL in this market but with the response we saw last season, as well as the coverage we’ve enjoyed thus far in 2013, there’s no question there is a palpable buzz in the lead up to Opening Night.
I have to commend the work that our beat writers – George Richards from the Miami Herald, and Harvey Fialkov from the Sun Sentinel – have done in covering the team and keeping our fans informed even during the work stoppage. It’s also great to see the Panthers back on our local TV stations, our local sports radio stations, as well as on ESPN, the Associated Press, and more.
For me, after a long absence, I am excited that everyone is talking about hockey again. And it will all culminate in a little over a week when we proudly unveil that Southeast Division Banner that our players and coaches earned last year, while also honoring our fans and supporters that have stuck with us during this tough time.
It’s going to be an incredible night, one we will all remember for a very long time, and I’m just counting down the days.
Looking forward to seeing our fans once training camp opens, thanks for reading and go Panthers.
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