Florida Panthers Facebook Florida Panthers Twitter Florida Panthers Google+ Florida Panthers Pintrest Florida Panthers Instagram Florida Panthers
NHL Premiere

Cats Going Global

Thursday, 02.19.2009 / 9:01 AM ET / NHL Premiere '09
Florida Panthers
Share with your Friends

Cats Going Global
Port of Helsinki (Wikipedia.org)
By Dave Joseph for floridapanthers.com

SUNRISE – The Florida Panthers are going global.

Helsinki, Finland, to be exact.

The NHL announced Thursday the Panthers will join three other NHL teams overseas next fall and open their 2009-10 regular-seasons with games in Finland and Sweden.

The Panthers, the Cinderella team of the NHL this season having gone from 30th to 10th in the standings, will open the season by playing a home-and home series against the Chicago Blackhawks in Helsinki, Finland on October 2nd and 3rd. On those same days, the Red Wings and Blues will play in Sweden.

“Great country, beautiful city, and very passionate hockey fans,” said Panther coach Peter DeBoer, who attended the 1998 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in Helsinki. “I think it’s going to be very exciting.”

Said Panther forward Ville Peltonen, a native of Helsinki and Finland’s star when winning their only World Championship in 1995; “The fans are really excited.”

“They will pack the stadium and there will be a buzz around the city,” Peltonen said. “They’ve been waiting for a game, a regular-season game, to be played where there are points on the line. It will be totally different than just playing an exhibition game. Fans will appreciate what the NHL is doing.”

The game will mark the first time the Panthers play outside North America. The Blackhawks only previous trip to Europe was 17 years ago when they played two preseason games against the Canadiens in London’s Wembley Arena in September of 1992.

“The NHL Premiere games are a signature event for the League, our players and our fans,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “Playing regular-season games overseas is an exceptional way to further engage the passionate NHL fan base in Europe and to grow the game of hockey.”


Stockholm, Helsinki Beckon Wings, Blues, Blackhawks & Panthers

Detroit will open the 2009-10 regular season with a pair of games in Stockholm against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 2 and 3. The Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers will play the same dates at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland. ...more
Other Links:
- Official Release
NHL Premiere '09 - City Of Helsinki
- My Hometown: Ville Peltonen
- DeBoer On Premiere '09
- Frolik On Premiere '09
- Campbell On Premiere '09
- McCabe On Premiere '09
- Hartwall Areena Website
- Chicago Blackhawks website
Panther GM Jacques Martin said the Premiere games will be “great for our franchise to have the opportunity to spend some time in Finland and promote the Panthers and NHL hockey.”

Martin and DeBoer said the trip would be beneficial for the players.

“It’s a great opportunity to do some team building, to get away as a team,” DeBoer said. “We have a great opponent to start the season with Chicago. I think it’s exciting being a young coach to have the opportunity. I think it’s a great opportunity for our young players and our veterans. It’s something new, and I think new is always good from an excitement standpoint and getting your team energized.”

Forward Radek Dvorak, a native of the Czech Republic, believes the games will be well received.

“I know when Tampa played the Rangers in Prague (this season), the people back home enjoyed it. They don’t get to see NHL players so it’s something nice for them. It’s a great experience, playing in a different country, different city. It will be fun for the fans, fun for the players and fun for management and people all over the world.”

Forward Gregory Campbell, who’s never played in Europe, was excited about the trip.

“I know there’s a lot of NHL players from Finland, a lot of European players in the league right now,” he said. “There’s a lot of interest over there with our league and I think it’s a good thing for teams to continue to go over there and grow our game and spike interest.”

Finland, host of the 1952 Winter Olympics, is passionate about its hockey. Their national team played its first World Championship in 1939, and earned its first medal (silver) in the Olympic Games in Calgary in 1988.

Finland’s population is approximately 5.3 million. The population of Helsinki is approximately 570,000. Neighboring cities Vantaa and Espoo make up the capital region along with Helsinki, and more than a million people.

The Panthers-Blackhawks game will be played at Hartwall Areena, which opened in 1997 with a concert by the Beach Boys. It later hosted that year the World Championships. The building, which recently hosted Tina Turner and Eagles – two acts who recently played at BankAtlantic Center – has a capacity for hockey of 13,464.

More information on NHL Premiere 2009 will be released at a later date, including ticket information, broadcast information, training camp schedules and preseason schedules.




1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48


J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.