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News

Two Florida Natives Attend Panthers Development Camp

Local Cats D Colin Suellentrop and F Cody Payne are participating in 2014 Camp

Tuesday, 07.08.2014 / 1:09 PM / News
By Patrick McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Two Florida Natives Attend Panthers Development Camp
D Colin Suellentrop and F Cody Payne are two Florida natives participating in the Panthers 2014 Development Camp




For most of the players in attendance, the trip to Florida Panthers Development Camp involves some hefty travel. That is not the case for South Florida natives Colin Suellentrop and Cody Payne. While players like Aleksander Barkov and Juho Lammikko made the 5,000 mile flight from Finland, for Suellentrop and Payne, the Florida Panthers IceDen is practically in their backyard.

Colin Suellentrop is a 6’1” defenseman from Plantation, FL, and Cody Payne is a 6’2” forward from Weston, FL. Both grew up in South Florida loving the sport of hockey and now the two players have the opportunity to show their talents on their home ice wearing the jersey of their hometown Florida Panthers.

Former Panthers defenseman and current Manager of Player Development, Bryan McCabe, feels that given the rapid growth of hockey in South Florida, it is only a matter of time before local players start making the jump to the NHL.

“Hockey is growing in Florida, period,” McCabe said. “Kids are getting better and better and now you are starting to see kids actually make it to the National Hockey League.”

“We are very fortunate to have [two] local kids here who certainly do not look out of place at this camp.”

Their time together in camp this week will not be the first time that Suellentrop and Payne have shared a rink. The duo grew up playing roller hockey together in Florida and played and roomed together with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals for parts of two seasons from 2010-2011.

For most players at Florida’s Development Camp the spectators consist of fans, media and team front office members. While Suellentrop and Payne were closely watched by those factions, they also had some more familiar fans in attendance on Monday, their friends and family.

“I had some family here, I saw a lot of friends out there,” Payne said. “I didn’t invite them, I guess they just came on their own.”

It is no surprise that the two Florida natives have their own cheering sections as the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs is about 15 miles from both Plantation and Weston. For any kid growing up playing hockey in Florida, the IceDen is almost like a second home.

“A lot of us have grown up at this rink all our lives,” Payne recalls.

Seeing a lot more of the Panthers’ practice facility would be more than okay for both Suellentrop and Payne as the two players are hoping to parlay their development camp invites into a chance to latch on with an NHL organization, especially one so close to home.

The 6’1” Suellentrop was drafted in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. After going unsigned by Philadelphia, the defenseman is free to sign with other NHL teams. During the 2013-14 season, his fifth with Oshawa, Suellentrop recorded 23 points (3-20-23) and 98 PIM in 67 regular season games.

Payne is also looking to stick with an NHL team. Drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round (145th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the forward, who tallied 26 goals last season for Saginaw, has already been on three OHL teams, had his NHL rights traded, and is on his third NHL camp. Despite the nomadic early career, Payne is just grateful to still be playing the game that he loves.

“I’ve definitely grown accustomed to it, I expect anything at any moment at this point,” Payne said. “Its part of the business and I’m happy to be in the business. “

The two Florida locals recognize that attending a camp with their hometown team is a special opportunity.

“I played here for the JR Panthers for like six or seven years,” Suellentrop said. “Its awesome to get to be on this side of the rink here. It’s a great opportunity and I’m going to try to make the best of it.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 76 16 22 -14 38
S. Upshall 76 15 22 1 37
B. Campbell 82 7 30 -6 37
B. Boyes 78 21 15 -6 36
S. Bergenheim 62 16 13 -16 29
J. Huberdeau 69 9 19 -5 28
T. Fleischmann 80 8 20 -18 28
T. Gilbert 73 3 25 -5 28
B. Pirri 49 13 12 6 25
A. Barkov 54 8 16 -3 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 25 23 7 .919 2.40
S. Clemmensen 6 7 1 .896 3.09
 
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