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George Richards: Welcome to Florida Hockey Now

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Florida Panthers Frank Vatrano

Man, has this been a strange year. And it is only July.

At least hockey appears to be on its way back in the coming days. This, after taking a break which has lasted longer than most offseasons.

When the NHL announced it was halting its season on March 12, the Florida Panthers were in Dallas preparing for a game against the Stars.

I was there as well, covering the team for The Athletic — where I was in my second year back covering the Panthers.

As the days off turned to weeks and then months, I was laid off on June 5.

A few days later, I launched a new Panthers-centric website called PanthersPressBox.com. I still had some stories to tell and needed a place to put them.

Soon after, folks started asking me what I planned to do with the site.

Well, it has morphed into this new venture: As of today, my Florida Panthers coverage will be here at FloridaHockeyNow.com.

Florida Hockey Now is part of National Hockey Now, which is a network of sites devoted exclusively to coverage of hockey with hubs in Pittsburgh, Colorado, Boston and, now, South Florida.

More markets are coming soon.

This is a subscription site although there will be a number of stories which will be free for all to check out.

My plan is to cover this Florida Panthers team with everything I’ve got just as I have since The Miami Herald originally put me on the beat at the start of the 2004-05 season which never was.

George Richards covers the Florida Panthers for Florida Hockey Now

Not only will there be plenty of in-depth stories and features (including a few later today), but frequent links to NHL stories I think you all will enjoy.

SUBSCRIBE HERE

A podcast is in the works. It will drop soon.

Subscriber mailbags and Q&As will be a regular thing just as they were at The Athletic. We will definitely have some watch parties — when it is safe to do so.

And, of course, there is always news. There will be news.

I truly do appreciate all the support you all have given me over the years — and especially since learning of my being laid off last month.

It was not an easy time, but the kind words so many of you expressed made things a lot better for sure.

The Panthers plan on getting back on the ice Monday in Coral Springs (if everything works itself out) for a summer training camp.

At the end of the month they’ll fly to their hub city (likely Toronto) where they’ll face the Islanders in a best-of-5 qualifier for the Stanley Cup playoffs.

This could be the start of something really cool.

I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

George Richards is the editor-in-chief of Florida Hockey Now. Richards spent close to 30 years at The Miami Herald and has covered the Florida Panthers since 2004.

Richards covered the Blue Jackets for The Columbus Dispatch during the 2017-18 season but returned home to resume covering the Panthers for The Athletic in 2018. Richards was born in Miami, started at The Herald while a senior at Cooper City High School and currently lives in Plantation — about a 10-minute drive from the BB&T Center.

Twitter: @GeorgeRichards

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Todd Faber

Congrats Gman. I hope all is well and you flourish with this new project. You are too talented not to make it work.

John Devine

Glad to see your two loves – panthers and south florida – coming together to this new venture.

Beverly Richards

Congratulations George…subscribed! Can’t wait to follow the Florida Panthers!

Jim Varsallone

The G-Man is back, giving us what we need to know, all we need to know and more we need to know about our Florida Panthers from the 954.

oldswiss

Happy to have hockey back. Happy to have you back. Happy to get a year subscription. Generally, just happy.

Phil Gallo

GR…..Feels good having you back!!!! GOOD LUCK!! 🤙🏻🤙🏻🏒🏒

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