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Florida Panthers evacuating players, staff to Boston in wake of Hurricane Irma

Approximately 80 people will be chartered up the East Coast away from the hurricane’s path.

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Florida Panthers Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Panthers will be evacuating about 80 players, staff, and family members out of the state ahead of Hurricane Irma. According to The Miami Herald, the Panthers have chartered a plane to Boston for Friday before Hurricane Irma makes landfall in Florida.

Training camps are scheduled to get underway across the NHL within the next week or so, and the Panthers are preparing to start theirs in Springfield, Massachusetts, if damage is severe.

The Panthers play in Sunrise, Florida, a mere 30 miles away from Miami in the projected path of Hurricane Irma. Their training camp was scheduled to take place in Broward County, just up the coast from Sunrise.

The Miami Herald has reported that Roberto Luongo, Vincent Trocheck, Sasha Barkov, and Derek MacKenzie are among the Panthers players scheduled to leave with the team on the chartered flight to Boston. Keith Yandle, a native of Boston, will also join the Panthers after his own flight up the East Coast. About 20 pets will also be evacuated along with their families.

Panthers CEO Matthew Caldwell told The Miami Herald that owner Vinnie Viola was the catalyst for this move north during Hurricane Irma.

“We had some of our younger players come in — a few of which are from Europe — and basically get stranded here with the storm coming,” Caldwell said. “For many of them, this would be the first hurricane for them. Guys are very thankful to [Viola] for doing this. They are all reaching out.”

Hurricane Irma has already forced the cancellation of a rookie tournament in Estero, Florida, that would have featured the Panthers, Capitals, Lightning, and Predators next week.