Florida Panthers: What the TV Series ‘Home Team’ Means For the Cats

SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 15: Goaltender James Reimer
SUNRISE, FL - MARCH 15: Goaltender James Reimer /

For the first time in NHL history, the National Hockey League and NowThis Sports have awarded a four episode behind the scenes look at the Florida Panthers.

Similar productions have aired to the high marketed teams of the league, so this news is not only surprising, but also exciting for fans of hockey everywhere, especially in South Florida.

The Florida Panthers started their 2017-2018 season with expectations for a bounce back year, leading to their second playoff run out of three years. With a few free agent signings and a healthy lineup to start the campaign, the Cats had formulated the recipe for a successful season. But did they? Games aren’t won and playoffs aren’t made on paper, so things didn’t work out exactly as well as the team had thought it would.

From the first game against the Tampa Bay Lightning to the last game before the All-Star break against the Washington Capitals, the Panthers had done the opposite of living to this season’s expectations, sitting 28th in NHL standings at that time. Things looked bleak for the season’s hope, along with the future. But once the All-Star break came to an end, it’s like a switch was flipped on for the team’s play.

Once Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov returned from Tampa Bay after his first All-Star experience at the NHL All-Star Weekend 2018, the team’s momentum, energy, and attitude towards turning things around sky-rocketed. They went on a complete tear, having one of the best records in the league since the break, tied for most wins since with the President’s Trophy winner: the Nashville Predators. The rewards started to pile up for the Cats, including a behind the scenes short series highlighting the team’s final weeks of the regular season.

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The idea for the series ‘Home Team: Florida Panthers’ is a behind the scenes look of the team, highlighting their miracle quest of making the playoffs. This is the second season of ‘Home Team’ produced by both the National Hockey League and NowThis Sports. The first season was made to dig deeper into the life and experience of the NHL’s new expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. This new season will cover the final days of the 2017-2018 regular season, showing a closer look at the team’s playoff push, along with the team’s actions in the community.

The first episode was previously premiered on April, 5th at 10 a.m. ET on NowThis Sport’s Home Team Facebook profile page. It was also viewed on YouTube.com and the website for the NHL at 4 p.m. ET. The episode was also repeated on NHL Network’s afternoon show ‘NHL Now,’ where future episodes will also be released on April 10th, 13th, and 19th.

Not only will the series capture moments on the ice, but it will also highlight the team’s actions off the ice. The cameras leak the team’s behavior in between games, on road trips, and their help in the community. This season plans to highlight the tragedy of Stoneman Douglas High School, as it mainly did in the first episode.

In the premiere, the show highlighted not only the acts in the community by Florida to raise money for the their GoFundMe page, but also the pre-game ceremony to help mourn for the state and the lives lost that day.

Many people around the league helping with the production of this series have shown signs of approval for this idea. This includes Panthers President & CEO Matt Caldwell, who when asked about the show emphasized, “We’re excited for hockey fans to get an up-close look at our club and players as they compete for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. We’re proud to partner with the NHL to produce this digital show that takes fans behind the scenes for an unparalleled look at a special group of players, including superstars like Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan HuberdeauVincent Trocheck and Roberto Luongo.”

Matt Caldwell said it best, as he, as well as many other hockey fans worldwide, are very enthusiastic about this behind the door examination.

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Since the NHL All-Star Break in late January (2018), the Florida Panthers have been on a roll, putting them back in the playoff race. Along with their recent success, the team has been awarded their first television series showing the surreptitious view of the team’s everyday life, something usually awarded to franchises with bigger markets. This TV treat is exciting for hockey fans across the globe from the normal everyday watcher to inside the Panthers organization.