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.

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!

Panther Parkway Celebrates Its One Year Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that just one year ago Panther Parkway was born.  I’ve made many decisions in my lifetime, some good, and some….. well…..not so good.  However the decision to leave the network that we were affiliated with for three years and start our own website, has turned out to be one of the best decisions that I could have made.  On September 7th of 2012, this story was published telling our loyal readers of the good news.  While The Rat Trick was where we started, leaving that site and starting Panther Parkway has turned out to be a bigger success than we originally thought.

We still have some work to do on the site itself, however I truly believe that we have established ourselves in the blogosphere as a premiere site for all your Florida Panthers information, as well as other stories of interest in and around the NHL.  As we approach the start of the regular season, we’re looking to make some cosmetic changes to the site which will include a new format, a new design, and some additional surprises along the way.  Our podcast, Panther Parkway Radio, hosted by Paige Lewis has received rave reviews, and we’ll continue to do those on a regular basis.  We also have plans to do some very unique “in game” and “post game” work for our home games this season.  We invite you to continue coming to our site on a daily basis.   In addition, please make sure that you continue following all of us on Twitter, and if you haven’t already, go and “like” our Facebook Fan Page!

Life has been significantly better for me at least since the move was made, and I want to personally thank all of our loyal fans that read and interact with us on a daily basis.  We appreciate your feedback, and really enjoy the conversations that we have.  I’ve made a number of friends the along the way, and while I also seem to have lost a few as well, I would like everyone to know that my passion for this sport runs very deep.  Don’t take anything that I say to heart.  It’s that passion that all of us here at Panther Parkway share, and is also what motivates us to do the work we do.

[Read more...]

Panther Parkway Chosen to Represent the Florida Panthers in Puck Daddy’s “National Hockey League of Nations” Project

Yahoo's Puck Daddy Logo

Yahoo’s Puck Daddy Logo

A couple of weeks ago, Greg Wyshynski announced that he and the boys over at Yahoo’s very controversial and hilarious “Puck Daddy” would be creating an interactive summer project which would include the help of 30 chosen team writers/blogs from around the league. The project titled “National Hockey League of Nations”, which began on August 1st, was created in honor of the NHL and the IIHF finally deciding upon the inevitable, which would see the players of the NHL in attendance at the 2014 Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia.

Here is how the project works: Already starting with the Anaheim Ducks and continuing on in alphabetical order, Puck Daddy has chosen a blog from each NHL team, who were instructed to make a list of their teams best “all-time” players from around the world. For instance: If you are the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings, or New York Rangers, it’s obvious that Wayne Gretzky is the greatest Canadian to ever be apart of your franchises, EVEN if he only played for the Blues for a short stint. Or if you’re the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, or New Jersey Devils, it’s a no brainer that Jaromir Jagr is the greatest Czech born player to ever don these colors, (even if he was useless for the Stars, and hasn’t technically played a game for the Devils, yet).

[Read more...]

New Panther Parkway Radio! Corban Knight, Jonathan Huberdeau, Free Agency, & Trades.

PantherParkwayRadio

This week we talk about Corban Knight, Jonathan Huberdeau, Stephen Weiss and more! Plus find out how nerdy David Lasseter is, hear more about Paige’s love affair with the Pens, Josh brings in Star Wars….and oh ya.. hear a little bit of Frank being  #insensitive….

3/28/2013 Panther Parkway Radio

Click the link above to listen or search for Panther Parkway Radio on iTunes….

Follow All Panther Parkway writers on Twitter:  Me @eyesonsunrise, Frank Rekas @FrankRekas, Scott Mullin @GreatScottsman, Paige Lewis @PaigeLewisFL, Jameson Cooper @JamesonCoop,  Gabby Kiger @gabbykiger, Amanda Land @HockeyGirl2530 and David Lasseter @davidlasseter. Visit our Facebook fan page here and give us a like!

A Look Towards The Future: Drew Shore

For the past couple of seasons the Florida Panthers have been one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League. As much as I hate to say that, it’s true. However, despite years of mediocrity, things seem to finally be changing. The addition of Dale Tallon as the general manager might just be the best thing to have ever happen to this once struggling franchise. Even though the team saw great success last year, the offense wasn’t very good. This has been a problem for the Panthers over the years; however, with young players such as Jonathan Huberdeau, Sean Bergenheim, and Kris Versteeg showing fantastic promise, things seem to be headed in the right direction for this Panthers offense.

Another one of these young players that not too many people know about is Drew Shore. After a great career with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program U-17 team and U-18 team, Shore was drafted by the Florida Panthers with the 44th overall pick during the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.  However, after he was drafted by the Panthers, he decided to play college hockey at the University of Denver. While at the University of Denver, Shore excelled to the top of the depth chart and during his last season as a Pioneer, he scored a career best 53 points (22 goals, 31 assist). His above average knowledge went along great with his great mobility and size. Not only can Shore skate well, but he can also get a little physical if he needs to.

Shore was able to join the Rampage last season towards the end of the year. In his eight games played, he scored a total three points (1 goal, 2 assist). This season is a little bit different. In his first full season with the Rampage, Shore has stepped up to be one of the leaders of this team. In the 28 games that he has played in so far, Shore has posted a total of 18 points. His total of 18 points puts him in second place on the team for most points, behind Jon Rheault.  It is good to see the Panthers continuously developing young talent who is succeeding. Hopefully Shore can continue to put up these numbers for the rest of the season. Although he probably won’t see action in a Panthers uniform this season coming up; however, if he can continue to play like this, it won’t be long before he finds his way into the big leagues.

Thanks For Reading!

Want More Hockey News? Follow The Rat Pack on Twitter! Me: @PP_Justen, Frank Rekas: @TheRatTrick Josh Luecht: @joshluecht, Patrick McLaughlin: @PatrickRattrick, Scott Mullin: @GreatScottsman, David Rodriguez: @davidbub_2, Paige Lewis:@RatTrickLewiz, Adam Reid: @AdamReid_, Gabby Kiger: @gabbykiger, Chrissy Parente: @Chrissaay44, and Amanda Land: @HockeyGirl2530!

 

A Look Towards The Future: Jacob Markstrom

Photo Credit: Wikimedia CommonsAuthor: Canada Hky

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Canada Hky

Let’s face it; ever since the Florida Panthers traded star goaltender Roberto Luongo to the Vancouver Canucks, they have been desperately trying to find a replacement goaltender. Since then we have seen players like Tomas Vokoun, Jose Theodore, and Scott Clemmensen take over as the man in between the pipes. The Panthers thought they have found their new guy when they brought in Tomas Vokoun. Despite playing well for four seasons in a Florida uniform, the team wasn’t having overall success. The Panthers then decided to go in a different direction, by signing Jose Theodore as their starting goalie prior to last year. The move turned out to be a success as the Panthers were able to clinch a playoff spot by winning the Southeast Division. Although Theodore helped lead the team to the playoffs, there were tons of rumors going around that Luongo wanted to come back to the Panthers; however, that never happened. During this span of  six years, the Panthers decided it would be a good idea to draft a goalie and groom him in the AHL. The goalie that was drafted was Jacob Markstrom. [Read more...]

A Look Towards The Future: Alex Petrovic

There are a lot of fantastic young players who have the potential to be great one day playing currently playing for the San Antonio Rampage. While the team is stacked to the top with these great young prospects, a few of them really stick out. One of those players is defender Alex Petrovic. Alex Petrovic was selected by the Florida Panthers 36th overall during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. You might recall that that was the same year that the Florida Panthers selected Erik Gudbranson with the 3rd overall selection.  The decision to go with two defenders within the first couple of rounds showed that the Panthers were slowly, but surely trying to get younger at the position. So far we have all seen what Gudbranson could do; however, we have yet to see what Petrovic could do in a NHL uniform. Hopefully we get a chance to see just what the youngster could do. [Read more...]

A Look Towards The Future: Jonathan Huberdeau

When Dale Tallon took over as the Florida Panthers general manager on May 17th, 2010, a sense of hope was restored into, let’s be honest a franchise that wasn’t very good. In his first draft as the Panthers GM, Tallon took Erik Gudbranson, the big defender, who at the time was a young 18 years old. After watching Gudbranson play a full season with the Panthers, I think it is safe to say that that pick was definitely a home run, as the sky is the limit for Gudbranson. [Read more...]

Progress Report: Filip Kuba

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Wknight94

Ever since the lockout became official, multiple players throughout the league decided it was in their best interest to take their talents overseas. There has been many high profile players signing with teams overseas, such as Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Florida Panthers are a team that has seen a lot of their talent go overseas. The team has seen the departure of players such as Dmitry Kulikov, Sean Bergenheim, Tomas Kopecky, Filip Kuba, Mike Santorelli, and Marcel Goc. [Read more...]

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