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Two Florida Natives Attend Panthers Development Camp

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

Tuesday, 07.8.2014 / 1:09 PM ET / News
By Patrick McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Two Florida Natives Attend Panthers 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.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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