Jeff Rimer, the original television voice of the Florida Panthers, announced on Wednesday that this season would be his final one in a broadcast booth.
Rimer, who has been covering the NHL for parts of 47 years, did Florida games on television from 1993 until leaving in 2004 during the lockout to join former Panthers’ coach Doug MacLean in Columbus.
He has been the lead play-by-play voice for the Blue Jackets — not to mention star of local commercials and radio talk shows — since.
Rimer and color analyst Jody Shelley will call one more season together on Bally Sports Ohio before a likely full-time move back to South Florida.
“As I close my career at the conclusion of this Blue Jackets season, I will have spent parts of six decades, 47 years on the NHL beat, and called well over 2,500 games in the league’s various broadcast booths across North America,’’ Rimer wrote on the team website linked above.
“It has been an honor, a pleasure and very special privilege to have each and every one of you beside me on my dream ride.
“I can’t thank you enough for watching and listening all these years! Go Jackets!”
The Blue Jackets, like the Panthers, open their season tonight.
FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW
As always, you all had a number of great questions for the FHN Mailbag as we discuss a variety of topics from third jerseys (shocker!), contract extensions, the chances Patrick Kane comes to the Panthers, what happened to Grigori Denisenko and much, much more.
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— It looked like Justin Sourdif was the final cut of the preseason and, technically, he was. But that was more due to salary cap gymnastics than anything else. Regardless, Sourdif deserved a spot on the Panthers to start this season and he has it. Wednesday he was back on the ice — and packing for the team’s trip to Minnesota.
— Get to know new Florida Panthers defenseman Uvis Balinskis a little bit.
The Panthers found the Latvian playing in the Czech Extraliga last season and ended up offering him a contract.
Now, he is in the NHL.
— Mackie Samoskevich will make his NHL debut tonight in Minnesota and he is really looking forward to that solo rookie lap.
— Sasha Barkov has had a number of linemates over the years. Now he has a new one in Evan Rodrigues. It looks like a good match so far.
— The Panthers have a new backup goalie. Say hello to Anthony Stolarz.
— Three years ago, Bill Zito signed his first free agent class for the Florida Panthers. While the signings were not flashy at the time, they helped set the tone for the team you all know and love to this day.
— The return of the Panthers means a lot of new video up on the FHN YouTube Channel.
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NATIONAL HOCKEY NOW
The Boston Bruins had a bundle of legends on hand for the centennial season opener and David Pastrnak showed them what’s what as they drop the Blackhawks.
— The Montreal Canadiens gave the Leafs all they could handle on Wednesday night.
— Do the Pittsburgh Penguins have a hangover from whatever last year was?
— Brett Howden gets a two-game suspension for his check to the head in the Vegas season-opening win.
— Danny Briere talks before the Philadelphia Flyers open their season in C-bus.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT MINNESOTA WILD
- When: Thursday, 8 p.m.
- Where: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WQAM 560-AM; WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (West Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); WCZR 101.7-FM (Treasure Coast); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- This season: Florida @ Minnesota, Thursday; Minnesota @ Florida, Jan. 19
- All-time regular season series: Minnesota leads 18-10-2, 1 tie
- Up Next for the Panthers: Saturday at Winnipeg Jets, 4 p.m. (BSF, 790-AM)