For the first time since 2009, the Florida Panthers will be headed to Nova Scotia as they will be part of the NHL’s Kraft Hockeyville preseason series.
The Panthers will play the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, October 1 at Centre 200 in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
The Kraft Hockeyville initiative is extremely popular in Canada as small towns vie to not only host the NHL preseason games but each community receives $250,000 in arena upgrades.
The NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund also donates $10,000 worth of youth hockey equipment to the winning towns.
While the Panthers and Senators will be playing at the Centre 200 ice complex, which is home to the Cape Breton junior team, the money will be used to fix up a dormant ice rink in Sydney called the Canada Games Complex.
“Our organization is thrilled to visit Nova Scotia this fall to bring an exciting preseason matchup to the passionate fans in the Sydney community,” Florida GM Bill Zito said in a statement.
“The Kraft Hockeyville program does a great deal of good for the growth of our game across North America and we are honored and excited to participate and get the chance to spend some time with the avid hockey fans at Centre 200.’’
This will be the second time the Panthers have taken part in a Hockeyville event.
In 2019, the Panthers lost to the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 in Bathurst, New Brunswick.
The Panthers also opened training camp in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia, in 2009 and then played the Senators in a preseason game in Halifax.
Since this is a preseason game, it will not be known until game time which players will be in the lineup but organizers certainly have to hope Florida star Matthew Tkachuk and Ottawa captain Brady Tkachuk are in it.
FLORIDA PANTHERS ON DECK
- June 26: NHL Awards, Nashville
- June 28-29: NHL Draft, Nashville (Florida has picks in Rounds 2, 4, 5, 6 & 7)
- June 30: Buyout period ends
- July 1: Free agency opens, noon
- Mid-September: Training Camp, South Florida
- Oct. 1 Preseason: Panthers vs. Senators; Sydney, Nova Scotia
- Mid-October: Start of 2023-24 Regular Season