Cats 2008-09 Schedule Released
Can it get any better than this?

Two Friday night games at BankAtlantic Center against the New York Rangers. Another Friday night game at BAC against the Stanley Cup-winning Red Wings.

Two games in 11 days at BAC against the Flyers, including one on Friday night. A home opener on Saturday night. Sidney Crosby and the Penguins on a Sunday afternoon.

The Panthers today announced their 2008-09 schedule and there’s a lot to get excited about as the Panthers begin a new era under coach Peter DeBoer and players like Cory Stillman, Nick Boynton and Keith Ballard.

See all 82 Games Here
*Note: The Panthers entire schedule will be available for download Friday morning at floridapanthers.com*

The Panthers 82-game regular season schedule is highlighted by 28 home games on either Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. It marks Florida’s 16th year in the NHL and 10th at the BankAtlantic Center, since the venue opened in 1998. The 2008-09 season is presented by the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek.

For the second consecutive year, Florida opens regular season competition on the road when they visit their Southeast Division rivals the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. The following night, Florida opens the home portion of its schedule when the Panthers host another Southeast Division foe, the Atlanta Thrashers, on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. The Panthers will conclude the regular season at home for the first time in three seasons, when they take on the 2007-08 Southeast Division Champion Washington Capitals on Saturday, Apr. 11 at 7 p.m. In between, some incredible matchups highlight the home slate including the traditional post-Thanksgiving game against the New York Rangers on Nov. 28, the return of the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 14, the Montreal Canadiens just before New Year’s on Dec. 29, and a visit from the high-flying Chicago Blackhawks on January 19.

For the second consecutive season, all home weekday games will begin at 7:30 p.m., with Saturday games starting at 7 p.m. and three Sunday matinee 5 p.m. games, unless circumstances – such as national television start times – dictate otherwise.

During the 2008-09 campaign, the Panthers will play all 29 NHL clubs. Florida will play the entire Western Conference once either at home or on the road and they will also play three select Western Conference teams (St. Louis, Dallas, Nashville) twice, once on the road and once at home.

Single game tickets for the first 16 games will go on sale in late August. Five of those games – Nov. 14 vs. Detroit, Nov. 26 vs. New Jersey, Nov. 28 vs. NY Rangers, Dec. 26 vs. Tampa Bay and Dec. 29 vs. Montreal – will come with a $25 premium charge, meaning that the best value for the best games on the Panthers schedule come through season ticket packages. Full season seat packages, half season seat packages and mini plans are on sale now by calling a ticket sales representative at (954) 835-PUCK.

“This season’s schedule sets up fairly well for our team,” General Manager Jacques Martin. “We open the year playing three of our first four games at home and we conclude the season playing eight of our final 13 games at the BankAtlantic Center, which could prove to be important games in a playoff push. Furthermore, we have cut down on the number of back to back games and with this new format we now have the opportunity to compete against all 29 of the NHL clubs.”

“Under the new format, our fans will have the opportunity to see a diverse schedule that includes visits from some incredible opponents including the Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings, the New York Rangers the day after Thanksgiving, and the Montreal Canadiens during the December holiday season,” said Florida Panthers President/Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark. “Quite frankly, with so many incredible games on the schedule, there has never been a better time to be a Florida Panthers season ticket owner. Both our season seat renewals and new business are pacing ahead of last season and we attribute this success to the excitement surrounding our team and the unbeatable value of being a Florida Panthers season seat owner.”

2008-09 SCHEDULE HIGHLIGHTS:

Theme Nights: Each night of the week will provide a different theme at all Panthers home games for the 2008-09 season. Each themed night will have a promotion with different Panthers give-a-ways. The theme nights for the 2008-09 season will be:

“Military Mondays”
“2 for Tuesdays”
“Ladies Night” Wednesdays”
“College Night Thursdays”
“Social Fridays”
“Stanley Pre-Game Patio Party Saturdays”
“Family Fun Sundays”

Check floridapanthers.com for more information on what each theme night will include.

Start in Carolina: Not only will new Panthers forward Cory Stillman make his return to Carolina on Opening Night on Oct. 10, but the last time these two teams met was on Apr. 4, 2008, when Florida defeated Carolina 4-3, snapping a 13-game winless streak at the RBC Center.

Cup Champs Visit: The defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings will make their first visit to South Florida since Dec. 15, 2005, when they make their lone BankAtlantic Center appearance on Friday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Intrastate Rival: The new-look Tampa Bay Lightning with new head coach Barry Melrose visit South Florida for the first time on Nov. 12. The Panthers will play the Lightning three times at home this season. (Nov. 12, Dec. 26, Mar. 14)

Different Look: Eight of the Panthers first 16 games will be against opponents from the Western Conference. After playing their first two games against Southeast Division opponents (at Carolina Oct. 10, vs. Atlanta Oct. 11) the Cats do not play in their division again until Nov. 2 at Atlanta.

Down Home Stretch: Four of the Cats final six games will occur at the BankAtlantic Center as Florida will conclude its regular season schedule at home for the first time in three years.

Saturday Start Time: Once again, all Saturday home games this season will begin at 7 p.m. in order to better accommodate families who attend. Also, all Saturday games this season will have a family oriented theme, with interactive events including a pre-game tailgate in the BankAtlantic Center parking lot.

Wild West: Florida will head to the West Coast of the United States for the first time in three years as they travel to Los Angeles on Thursday, Nov. 6, Phoenix on Saturday, Nov. 8 and Anaheim on Sunday, Nov. 9. The Cats will also head to Western Canada for the first time in two years, when they take on Edmonton on Thursday, Dec. 11, Calgary on Friday, Dec. 12 and Vancouver on Sunday, Dec. 14.

Family Fun Sundays: Florida will play three Sunday matinee games this season. All three games – Dec. 21 vs. Colorado, Feb. 15 vs. Washington and Apr. 5 vs. Pittsburgh – will begin at 5 p.m.

Weekday Start Time: All home games Monday-Friday will continue to begin at 7:30 p.m. in order to give fans a chance to make it to the BankAtlantic Center after a full work day.

Sid “The Kid”: Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the defending Eastern Conference Champion Pittsburgh Penguins make two visits to South Florida this year on Thursday, Mar. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Apr. 5 at 5 p.m.

At Home for the Holidays: Florida will host the New Jersey Devils on Wednesday., Nov. 26 – the day before Thanksgiving – at 7:30 p.m. and two days later the Cats host the New York Rangers on Friday, Nov. 23 – the day after Thanksgiving – at 7:30 p.m. Additionally, the Cats host the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, Dec. 23 and will play a pair of games between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day when they host Tampa Bay (Friday, Dec. 26) and Montreal (Monday, Dec. 29).

Seven Days A Week: The Panthers’ 2008-09 home schedule includes three Sunday contests, four Monday games, six Tuesdays, three Wednesdays, nine Thursdays, seven Fridays and nine Saturday contests. The Cats will host five games in October, five in November, six in December, seven in January, seven in February, eight in March and three in April.

It Pays to be a Season Seat Owner: Florida Panthers season seat owners receive numerous benefits that include a VIP season seat owner entrance into the BankAtlantic Center, personalized nameplates on their seats, VIP Season Seat Owner hotline, exclusive Season Seat Owner Events including locker room tours, player picnics & private skating parties, access to the Patron Tequila Platinum Lounge and the BankAtlantic Chairman’s Club, bonus game tickets, access to the ticket exchange program, priority access to playoff and BankAtlantic Center concert tickets and much more. For a complete list of benefits please visit www.floridapanthers.com.

NHL Schedule Playing Format:
The National Hockey League’s 30 member clubs will each play a total of 82 games – 41 at home and 41 on the road. The Panthers’ 2008-09 schedule was determined by the following format:

Six games against each of its four division rivals: 24 games
Four games against each of the 10 non-division clubs in its conference: 40 games
18 inter-conference games: 18 games
82 games

2008-09 Schedule Notes:

• The Panthers open the season on the road at the RBC Center on Oct. 10 against the Carolina Hurricanes, marking the second consecutive season Florida will open on the road, but only the third time in the last 10 seasons that the Cats will begin the season on the road. The Panthers are 6-5-2-1 in 14 season openers.
• Florida will open the home portion of its schedule on Saturday, Oct. 11 vs. Atlanta.
• Florida will close the season at home for the first time in three seasons when they take on the Washington Capitals on Saturday, April 11.
• There are 10 sets of games on back-to-back days in 2008-09, four less than the 2007-08 campaign. Seven sets of back-to-back games are on the road and the other three sets of games are split between home and road contests.
• Florida’s longest homestand this season is five games (Feb. 13 – 21).
• Florida’s longest road trip this season is five games occurring three times (Nov. 1 – Nov. 9, Dec. 8 – Dec. 18 and Feb. 24 – Mar. 3)
• Florida will play three Sunday matinee home games, all at 5 p.m., vs. Colorado on Dec. 21, vs. Washington on Feb. 15 and Pittsburgh on April 5.
• Florida’s busiest months will be March when the Cats play 15 games.
• The Panthers will travel the most in November, playing in nine road contests.
• The Cats will have five days off from Jan. 21-Jan. 27 for the NHL All-Star break. This year’s game will be held in Montreal on Sunday, Jan. 25.

2008-09 FLORIDA PANTHERS SEASON SEAT PACKAGES

*Panthers Full Season Seat, Half Season Seat and Mini Plan Ticket Packages are NOT subject to variable Ticket Pricing*

Half Season-Plan: This plan includes 22 of the Cats 41 home games, including the first home game of the season on Oct. 11 vs. Atlanta, as well as the final game of the season on Apr. 11 vs. Washington. Also included are big home games against the NY Rangers (Feb. 13), two Pittsburgh games (March 5 and April 5), one Philadelphia game (Jan. 27) and one Boston game (Dec. 6).

Big Game Plan: This plan contains the games considered to be some of the most exciting match-ups of the season, including opening night against the Atlanta Thrashers and one meeting with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. This package also includes one game against intrastate rival Tampa Bay, as well as one game against the New York Rangers, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings and the season finale against the Washington Capitals.

Big Game Plan
SAT Oct. 11 ATL 7:00 p.m.
FRI Nov. 14 DET 7:30 p.m.
WED Nov. 26 NJ 7:30 p.m.
FRI Nov. 28 NYR 7:30 p.m.
THU Dec. 4 BUF 7:30 p.m.
FRI Dec. 26 TB 7:30 p.m.
THU Jan. 8 CAR 7:30 p.m.
FRI Jan. 16 PHI 7:30 p.m.
THU Feb. 5 NYI 7:30 p.m.
TUE Feb. 10 TOR 7:30 p.m.
THU Feb. 19 CHI 7:30 p.m.
THU Mar. 5 PIT 7:30 p.m.
SAT Apr. 11 WSH 7:00 p.m.

Weekday Mini Plan: This plan contains 13 games Monday-Thursday. The plan begins on Oct. 16 vs. Minnesota and concludes on March 31 against Ottawa. The plan also includes games against Dallas (Jan. 21), Philadelphia (Jan. 27), Montreal (Jan. 29) and Washington (Mar. 17).

Weekend Mini Plan: This plan includes 12 games from Friday-Sunday, plus one Thursday night game on Mar. 19 vs. Toronto. Also included in this package are games against the New York Rangers (Feb. 13), Boston (Feb. 21), San Jose (Oct. 24) and Washington (Feb. 15).

VARIABLE TICKET PRICING:
Select individual game tickets will be subject to a $25 premium charge over the standard gate price cost. Below is a list of games which have been selected as high demand (A) games for the 2008 calendar year.

Nov. 14 vs. Detroit Red Wings
Nov. 26 vs. New Jersey Devils
Nov. 28 vs. New York Rangers
Dec. 26 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Dec. 29 vs. Montreal Canadiens