Thanks for the memories: Saying goodbye to Panther Parkway

After 5 seasons as a blogger, I am calling it quits.

I made this decision about 2 weeks or so ago, but I wasn’t quite sure how I would approach it, so I stared at a blank document for a few days. Well, I finally put my emotions in my back pocket, and mustered up a few words. So, here is goes:

It’s no secret that hockey is my life. I know that sounds cliché’, but this sport literally consumes my entire family. With that being said, I think it’s in the best interest of my family that I stopped writing about the Florida Panthers for Panther Parkway. Even though this decision was quite difficult to make, a good friend once told me “No matter what you choose to do with your career, the sport of hockey isn’t going anywhere”. As simple as that may sound, he’s right, which made my decision to leave Panther Parkway a little easier.

If I’m being honest, I’ve had, on a few occasions, times when I thought about stepping away from this site to spend more time with my son, school work, or to focus on my day job. But every time, something pulled me back in. Well, not this time.

For the past 5 years, I have invested a great deal of my time into various blog sites. I was originally affiliated with The Rat Trick of Fansided.com, and after 2 seasons we decided to move into a different direction (enter Panther Parkway).

Frank Rekas and I began Panther Parkway 3 seasons ago, and it has been everything to me. Although Mr. Rekas called it quits a few weeks ago, this was still very much mine and his baby from the start. Because we were not affiliated with any affiliation site, we spent countless hours trying to build this site from the ground up, with very limited help promoting our independent blog. Well, I’m proud to say that our site has produced over 50 podcast episodes with some of the best guests in the business, along with 1,500 articles since the sites launch 3 seasons ago. We’ve had incredible support over the years from our readers, and we are all so incredibly thankful for each and every one of you. Trust me when I tell you, your support and passion means the world to us.

During my time as a blogger, I’ve seen some amazing writers come in and out – writers who have helped this site grow tremendously, and I’d like to thank them all for it. To Frank, Jameson Cooper, Mike Lewis, Mike Obrand, Dave Lasseter, Chrissy Parente, Josh Luecht and JV Siegal, I can’t thank you all enough for, not only your expertise blogging skills, but being my best friends. You all mean the world to me. I really do mean that.

Along with our staff writers, I can’t tell you how many friendships I have built over the years, and how many amazing people I have met because of this website. As a female trying to pave her way into the hockey world, putting your voice out there was something I was always afraid to do, but many of you welcomed me into the unknown with open arms. I want to thank you all for being my friends, and accepting a female hockey blogger from Florida into your blogosphere. This site, and you people, have been my home away from home for so many years. On my darkest days, I could always count on the hockey community to give me a good laugh, whether it was through a silly little tweet, or a snarky article about Tyler Bozak. I’ve had a blast getting to virtually know all of you.

I want to specifically thank the Florida Panthers and PR Director Justin Copertino for taking a chance on me as an 18-year-old intern, and then again as a full-time credentialed media member. I want to thank you for giving me such a great deal of experience, as well as supplying me with a lifetime of great memories. I hope this website has supplied the team with adequate coverage over the years, and helped do its part in growing the sport of hockey in South Florida.

With both co-founders of Panther Parkway stepping back, I’m not sure what the future has in store for this site yet, nor am I sure if this site even has a future at all. All I know is I am walking away from the site I helped create, and that’s OK. Like I said earlier, I’ve met some amazing people, gained so much experience, and have made some incredible memories to last me a lifetime. But for now, it’s time to stand beside my family, and cheer on the Panthers, the team I love so much, from afar.

Cheers, everyone.

Florida owners pen open letter to the fans

Over the past several years (actually, since they’ve become a franchise), rumors have spread throughout the hockey community about the possibility of the Florida Panthers relocating to Toronto, Las Vegas, Quebec, Seattle, Puerto Rico –okay, so not Puerto Rico, but you might as well add them into the mix – and every other province of Canada or state in the U.S.

Owners Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu are here to set the record straight. This afternoon, they sent out a letter to Panthers fans:

“As we close in on the one-year anniversary of our ownership of the Florida Panthers, we want to reiterate our commitment to Broward County, South Florida and our Panthers fans and business partners. As we said at the press conference when we bought the team, we view ourselves as stewards of the team for the community and our plan is to build an organization that makes South Florida proud and to win the Stanley Cup in South Florida. Despite media speculation to the contrary, we have no plans or intentions to move this franchise.

We made a commitment to the Panthers and to South Florida when we bought the team to build a successful organization on and off the ice. We have been working hard to live up to that commitment. Starting with the trade to bring Roberto Luongo, one of the world’s top goaltenders, back home to South Florida, and continuing with our committing over $80 million to new players, including bringing six talented veteran free agents to South Florida and resigning all of our restricted free agents, we have dedicated ourselves to improving the team. Off the ice, we continue to expand our community outreach initiatives and look forward to continue to contribute to the quality of life for residents.

It is no secret that the Panthers and BB&T Center have lost tremendous amounts of money over the last dozen years. We are working hard to address this situation, which we believe we can do with the support from our loyal fans, our business partners, the business community and our community-at-large.

We look forward to a winning season and bringing a Stanley Cup to South Florida.

With Warm Regards,

Vinnie Viola and Doug Cifu, Co-Owners”.

 

Look everyone, we know you find struggles of other franchises to be a real comedy show, but there are people who have jobs within this franchise, write for this franchise, or have paid big money to finally watch this team put a winning product on the ice. For the first time, in a long time, the Panthers could put together that winning product with franchise players such as Roberto Luongo, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, Aaron Ekblad, Dmitry Kulikov, Erik Gudbranson, and Brandon Pirri.

Stick around and watch. We’ll be here all year, and then some.

 

Florida makes roster cuts, announces 51-man training camp roster

The Florida Panthers’ rookies arrived back in Florida late last night after winning the prospects tournament held at the Ford Ice Center in Nashville over the weekend. For some of these individuals, the end of prospects camp means the beginning of NHL training camp, or pre-season. For others, it means the end of their pro careers with the Panthers.

While several individuals impressed at the annual rookie tournament, not every player was fortunate enough to earn a spot at main camp. The following players have been cut from the Panthers, and will not attend training camp:

Player Cuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following names will be attending training camp:

Training Camp Roster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The team will hold their first on-ice practice of training camp on September 19th, starting at 10 a.m. at the Panthers Ice Den in Coral Springs, FL. You can find the full training camp schedule here. We’re looking forward to seeing you all there!

 

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Panthers Rookies Defeat the Bolts, Win Prospects Tournament

The Florida Panthers rookies travelled to Nashville this past week, where they took part in the annual rookie tournament against the youngsters of the Nashville Predators, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Boston Bruins. After playing each team once, the Panthers came away as the prospect tournament champions, winning all three games.

Below, I compiled and posted every goal, assist, and penalty minute scored or taken by the Panthers. (Note: Several stat changes occurred. Thank you to the @ThePredatorial for supplying a few of these statistics.)

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The second place winner will be decided this afternoon when the Predators take on the Bruins at 2pm EST.

Panther Parkway: WRITERS WANTED

It’s about that time again! The 2014-2015 NHL season is about to begin, which means Panther Parkway will be back in full-season mode again and we’ll need YOUR help.

A little about us:

Panther Parkway is going on their 5th season as a credentialed blog with the Florida Panthers (including the two years we were affiliated with Fansided.com). We are a fun bunch. Like, really fun.

What we’re all about:

Look, we know we’re a blog, but the Panthers have also been generous enough over the past 5 seasons to issue us credentials. We know it’s hip and trendy now a days to hate the team you write for, but we’re not about that. As credentialed members, we try to keep the hate to a minimum. That’s not to say we don’t want you to be honest, because we totally want you to be honest. But we also don’t want you dropping the F bomb or complaining about every little thing the team does.

In addition to this, we try to stay away from being “too much” of a fan. Yes, we’re all fans here. But sometimes folks can take it a bit too far. Basically we’re asking for you to remain unbiased. (Unless you’re talking about Aleksander Barkov. You can totally fan girl or fan boy over him.)

What we need:

Game Day Preview Writers: We’ll need people to write game day previews for all 82 games. Basically, you’ll need to tell readers about the history of the match-up between the two teams, players to watch, what to expect, etc.

Featured Writers: We’ll need featured writers during the season to give viewers some interesting content to read on off-days.

Advanced Analytics Writers: Panther Parkway staffer Mike Obrand has been involved in Analytics for quite some time now, while I am still learning. With that being said, we need more of you.

When we need it:

So, now that you know what we need from you, it’s time to apply! If you’re interested, please e-mail me at PeejLewis@yahoo.com, and tell me your name and which position you’re interested in! Everyone who applies will be given a topic for that specific position! If we like you, we will e-mail you and give you a second topic. We will then narrow our candidates down and choose our new writers! Please keep in mind that you DON’T have to live in Florida to write for us. You just have to have access to Florida games on TV. 

You have until September 9th to e-mail me that you’re interested! Then, you will have until September 16th to write your first topic. Have fun and good luck!

Ice Bucket Challenge: The Florida Panthers Get Icy

For weeks now, people from all over have been shoveling chunks of ice into buckets, mixing it with water, pouring it on their heads, and then posting it on their respective social media sites. Just recently players, broadcasters, main stream media, and bloggers from around the NHL have joined the craze. No, they aren’t crazy.  They are raising awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS. The rules are simple: Poor ice water on your head, capture it on video, and then challenge someone else. Chain chain chain.

A few members of the Florida Panthers have joined in on the action:

Shawn Thornton

Vincent Trocheck

Scottie Upshall

Billy Lindsay
Aaron Ekblad

Erik Gudbranson

Jayce Hawryluk

Joe Wegwerth

Quinton Howden
Nick Bjugstad

Sasha Barkov

Florida Panthers Staff

A few members of the Panther Parkway family even accepted the challenge!
Paige Lewis
Mike Obrand

We welcome your comments and feedback!

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For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

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REPORT: Juho Lammikko to leave Finland, play in the OHL

It has been reported that Juho Lammikko, a Finnish prospect of the Florida Panthers, will leave his team in the Finnish Liiga and join the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL.

A 3rd round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft (via trade), Lammikko has decided to join the North American ranks for the 2014-2015 season, where he could potentially play with this year’s 3rd overall pick, Sam Bennett.

Lammikko, 18, is a power-forward who has spent his career playing for his native country, Finland. Before joining the the Finnish Liiga, Lammikko tallied an impressive 103 points with a U-16 Jr. C division, and 53 points the following season with the U-18 Jr. B league. Always playing above his age group, Lammikko joined the U-20 Jr. A SM-Liiga team at just 17 years old, recording 42 points (17G-25A) in just 37 games.

Following the 2014-2015 season, Lammikko will likely return to Finland, where he will re-join the Finnish Elite League, and play with Assat full-time, until he feels he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL, where he could join the Panthers.

 

We welcome your comments and feedback!

 

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Panthers avoid arbitration, re-sign RFA Jimmy Hayes

On Tuesday morning, the Florida Panthers avoided arbitration and announced the re-signing of RFA Jimmy Hayes to a one-year deal.

Hayes, 24, appeared in 53 games with the Panthers last season after being dealt to Florida from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Kris Versteeg. He recorded 18 points (11-7-18) during his first season as a member of the Panthers.

The 6’6, 221 lb winger is a native of Boston, Massachusettes and was drafted by Chicago in the second-round of the 2008 entry draft. The big power winger has played 96 career NHL games, registering 31 points (17-14-31), 34 PIMs, a 13.5 shooting percentage, and 176 hits.

 We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

 

 

Panther Parkway Radio: Ekblad, Prospects, Free Agency, Gallant & Playoffs

Tune in to tonight’s show where we discuss the biggest NHL & Florida Panthers news of the week! By the way, this podcast is terrible.

Host: Paige Lewis

Guests: Jameson Cooper, Mike Lewis, and Mike Obrand

Topics

  • Aaron Ekblad and Development Camp
  • Who impressed the most in Development camp?
  • How did the Panthers do in Free Agency?
  • Panthers made 6 Free Agent signings.
  • Playoffs? PLAYOFFS?
  • Jimmy Hayes going to arbitration
  • This show is terrible.

New Episode Here

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

Panthers Re-Sign RFA Dylan Olsen

On Monday afternoon, the Florida Panthers announced the re-signing of RFA Dylan Olsen to a one-way, 2-year deal.

Olsen, 23, appeared in 44 games with the Panthers last season after being dealt to Florida from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Kris Versteeg. He recorded 12 points (3-9-12) during his first season as a member of the Panthers. Olsen recorded his first NHL goal this past season against Ondrej Pavelec of the Winnipeg Jets.

The 6’2, 223 lb blue-liner is a native of Calgary, Alberta and was drafted by Chicago in the first round of the 2009 entry draft. The rugged defenseman has played 72 career NHL games, registering 13 points (3-10-13), 78 blocked shots, 159 hits and has averaged 14:14 minutes of time on ice.

 

 

We welcome your comments and feedback!

Follow Paige on Twitter @PaigeLewisFL

For All Your Florida Panthers’ Updates Follow Panther Parkway on Facebook

Follow Panther Parkway on Instagram @ PantherParkway

 

 

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